The House passed a bill off the floor Monday that requires next year’s Legislature to end the state’s overreliance on local school levies to pay for basic education.
House Bill 2366 also collects data on teacher compensation and local levies, and creates a task force to continue working on the issue before the 2017 Legislature convenes.
Republican Rep. Matt Manweller voted against the bill, describing one section of the bill as a “poison pill to the extent that it’s a deal killer.”
The section states that “legislative action shall be taken by the end of the 2017 session to eliminate school district dependency on local levies” to fund public schools.
Manweller said that language forces “someone else do the job that we are either unwilling to do or cannot do.”
He said the section was placed in the bill to appease the Washington Supreme Court, which is holding the state in contempt for failing to provide a plan for how it will adequately fund basic education.
Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, said the bill is not about appeasing the court, but about “living up to a promise to a million school kids we made in 2009.”
Sullivan said he supports both the bill and the section language.
“The bill we have before us today puts forward the next promise,” he said. “The promise that we’ll fix a broken school employee compensation system.”
The bill passed with a vote of 64-34, and heads to the Senate for consideration.
Gov. Jay Inslee praised the passage of the bill, saying “today’s vote keeps us moving in the right direction.”