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Legislature approves basic education funding plan

by caprecord

The McCleary basic education funding plan is the first bill of the session to pass out of both the House and the Senate.

Senate Bill 6195 passed out of the House on Thursday on a 66-31 vote and now goes to the governor for his signature. It passed out of the Senate earlier this week.

What some are calling a “plan for a plan” requires next year’s Legislature to end the state’s overreliance on local school levies. It also collects data on teacher compensation and how levy dollars are being spent.

The plan also creates a legislative task force to continue working on the issue before the 2017 legislative session.

Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, said the bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a good step forward.

“We’re coming up against the big 2018 deadline for putting McCleary to bed and this reaffirms our commitment to doing just that,” Magendanz said.

He said having the “bill returned intact” from the Senate is something that should be celebrated. The Senate initially pushed back the deadline by one year, but then returned it to the House’s original version calling for a solution by the end of the 2017 session.

Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, voted against the bill, saying the Legislature could end up before the Washington Supreme Court again. He warned that the state could be facing “McCleary II.”

“What concerns me about this bill is there is nothing in here that provides statutory direction for us to avoid this exact same problem five years down the road,” he said. “If this committee that we put together does nothing to address this fact, then there is nothing in law that says that says they can’t just do it again.” 

Watch TVW video of the floor debate here.