- Washington State could see a $2.3 billion funding boost for pre-K through college education if Gov. Jay Inslee gets his way.
- Inslee is requesting the funding boost in order to beat a deadline set by the state's Supreme Court, which ruled in 2012 that the state was failing its constitutional obligation to provide a basic education, and that it was pulling too much of its funding from local taxes.
- Inslee is expected to announce details on where the funds will come from when the full budget proposal is released Thursday, and it reportedly also includes an additional two years of tuition freezes for state higher ed, additional scholarship funding, and public school teacher raises.
When it ruled on the state's failure to adequately provide a basic education to students, Washington's Supreme Court set a deadline of 2017-18 to fix the issue. Inslee wants to get that out of the way a year in advance, hence his $2.3 billion request. Among the things those funds will be used for are all-day Kindergarten, smaller preschool classes, and funds for materials and supplies.
Along with the tuition freezes, scholarship funding, and teacher pay raises (which aren't part of the additional funding) are requests for middle- and high-school dropout prevention, $78.8 million for an additional 6,358 low-income preschoolers, $14 million for job training and other community college technical programs, and funds to provide meals, clothing, and medical care to students in need.
According to the Associated Press, the state's Republicans are opposed to new revenue sources for education, don't believe he's taking the lead on addressing class sizes, and want to see how he plans to address the state Supreme Court's concerns regarding the overuse of local taxes in ed funding.