In 2009, editorial boards gushed over an education-reform bill to be fully funded by 2018. This future liability was unfunded, a concern for many legislators, including myself. As I asked then, how could we expect future Legislatures to possess the courage of our convictions if we didn’t possess that courage ourselves?
The Washington Supreme Court has since ruled the state is falling unconstitutionally short on funding K-12 education. Despite that, some, including The Times, have embraced further reforms — including a charter-school initiative — adding new costs to an unmet price tag.
The governor, and some in the 63rd Legislature, claimed $1 billion in new K-12 funding — although that addition counted subtracting several hundred million dollars by denying K-12 staff cost-of-living increases. It’s a claim that would fail a 5th-grade math test, and Supreme Court scrutiny.
Now advocates would force the issue through class-size Initiative 1351, and the Times [“Initiative 1351 aims to corner Legislature on K-12,” Opinion, April 12] complains this thwarts “a thoughtful debate next year” about K-12 funding.
I can’t blame advocates for wanting action, not more debate (however “thoughtful”). As an 11-year-old’s dad I share their impatience.
Voters should sign I-1351, even if — shudder — it leads to the “new union members” (i.e. teachers) The Times darkly predicts.
Brendan Williams, Olympia