OLYMPIA – The Senate on Wednesday approved a one-year delay on what’s commonly called the “levy cliff,” averting a $358 million cut to K-12 schools.

Senate Bill 5023, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, would delay by one year a scheduled reduction in the money school districts can collect through local property tax dollars already approved by voters.

“This is a big victory for all the parents, teachers, and administrators in our state. Thanks to this bill, schools no longer have to wrestle with impossible decisions about whether to cut critical staff and services,” Wellman said. “I’m glad we were able to find bipartisan consensus on this important measure for the state’s 1.1 million students.”

In recent weeks, many school districts across the state were forced to develop two separate budgets in anticipation of the levy cliff. Districts officials had been preparing to send lay-off notices to teachers and classified staff.

“Now that this distraction is behind us, we can continue to work on a compromise on the larger issue of school funding and make sure the final solution substantially increases funding for our public schools,” Wellman said.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.