Monday, April 6, 2015

House Passes Operating and Capital Budgets - Let the Negotiations Begin!

The House passed their operating budget on a party line vote, but passed a Capital Budget on a 96-2 bipartisan vote on Thursday.  The PTA has concerns with the capital budget as it does not go far enough to address the crushing need for classroom space.  The operating budget, although a major step forward, still falls short of one of the marquee goals of McCleary - reducing the reliance on local taxpayers to foot the bill for basic education.

The House and the Senate will now begin negotiations on how to resolve the yawning gap between both budgets. The good news is that there is agreement in expanding funding maintenance, supplies, and operating costs (MSOC), moving to all day kindergarten, and reducing class size to 17 for all K-3 classrooms. The bad news is that there is a wide gap between the House and Senate on costs for Higher Education, revenue addition / reform, and compensation for teachers and state employees.  
House Speaker Pro Tem, Jim Moeller, when asked by the Columbian, seemed resolved to the legislature going into special session to resolve the disagreements.   The PTA has talked with many legislators and our perspective is that the sea change that is required by McCleary may take more time than the 105 day regular session allows.  PTA Legislative Director Sherry Krainick shared this thought with members.  "We also understand that the legislature may go into extra innings, and we accept that as necessary to resolve the challenges that they have before them. I caution our PTA members to be supportive and let your legislators know that it is o'k to stay in Olympia longer so long as we make meaningful progress on McCleary. This is going to take time."

The legislature will resume floor action on April 6th

No comments:

Post a Comment