Next steps to fix education funding signed into law

The first bill signed into law by the Governor during the 2016 session is one that outlines the next steps necessary to continue reforms for education funding. Senate Bill 6195, co-sponsored by Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, reestablishes the Legislature’s commitment to fix basic education funding before the 2018 deadline set by the Supreme Court.

The proposal was the work of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who convened in 2015 to outline the next steps for education funding.  The group decided that in order to determine the full extent of the state’s fiscal obligation, more data was required that separated the states’ support of teacher pay from local school districts funds.

Senate Bill 6195 will put an independent consultant in place to collect information on local school districts collective bargaining agreements, funding sources, and expenditures from local levies for basic education and enrichments. The consultant’s report will help determine the total amount needed by the state to amply fund basic education. The bill also creates a bipartisan education funding task force to review the data and analysis provided by the consultant.

“I appreciate the bipartisan and bicameral effort that went into getting this signed into law. I believe this bill establishes a path to success before the 2018 deadline.  Next year’s budget negotiations will be challenging. We have already put in place a thirty-six percent increase to education funding in the last two budget cycles, this will give us the tools we need to capably make the necessary reforms to amply fund basic education going forward,”  said Magendanz.

Included in the research will be an analysis for funding competitive salaries and benefits to hire and retain qualified staff. Reporting will be provided on market labor adjustments recognizing regional cost-of-living differences and compensation recommendations for teachers living in urban, high crime, rural or otherwise hard to staff areas.

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