The Most Difficult Challenge Of The Session – Education Funding

June 22nd, 2015|

News from Sen. Karen Fraser                                         June 22, 2015


Dear Constituents—-

I’m pleased to report that significant progress is being made on THE most difficult challenge of this Session—improving funding for “Basic Education” in order to comply with:

  • The State Supreme Court decision (“McCleary”) which quite clearly defined what constitutes the legal obligations of state government and, thus, statewide taxpayers; and
  • Voter-passed initiatives, including Initiative 1351, approved last Fall, which mandates funding thousands of additional teachers and support staff in our schools.

By several years from now, some estimate the state must increase state K-12 funding by about $5 billion per biennium. This includes the state “taking over” those amounts of “Basic Education” now included in local levies (60-80% of levy amounts) in our 295 school districts.

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This HUGE increase makes this one of the most fiscally challenging Sessions in state history.

The new Court-declared prohibition against funding any portion of “Basic Education” from local levies requires the Legislature to find a way to gradually, but quickly, shift the burden off local levies and back on to the state. This is a very complicated challenge!

To some, the good news is that this could result in a reduction in local levies. But, the challenge is how to find the increased state money to fund the state taking over this levy reduction, and also to fund other major Court and voter mandated increases.

This must be achieved without decimating all […]