Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday said he wants to give public schools and colleges a $2.3 billion boost in the next budget.
He’s proposing to put in enough money to amply fund basic education as ordered by the Supreme Court, prevent a tuition hike for college students and give teachers a nearly 5 percent pay hike over the next two years.
But he’s not sticking in enough to cover the cost of the smaller class size initiative passed by voters last month.
And on Monday he wasn’t saying how he will pay for his proposal. That answer won’t come until Thursday when he issues his proposed spending plan for the biennium that begins July 1, 2015.
Here are some of the big pieces of the proposal released Monday:
-$1.35 billion for basic education including $751.8 million for materials, supplies and operating costs (MSOC), $448.1 million to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, and $107.6 million to implement full-day kindergarten statewide by the start of the 2016 school year;
-$485 million for teacher pay hikes totaling 3 percent in the 2015-16 school year and 1.8 percent in the following school year. The sum covers cost-of-living adjustments required under Initiative 732 plus a little extra.
-$100 million for the Opportunity Scholarship program, a public-private venture which offers financial aid to qualified students in health care, science, technology, engineering and math.
Inslee’s proposal does not pay the estimated $2 billion tab for Initiative 1351 which requires fewer students in classes at every grade level by the fall of 2018. However, the governor’s proposal does coincide with the initiative’s directive for smaller classes in the lower grades so in that sense he’s making a downpayment.
Of interest in Snohomish County, the proposal has $1.9 million for the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center in Everett to train workers for jobs involved in the fabrication of composite airplane wings.
And the governor wants to put another $2.5 million into aerospace and advanced manufacturing apprenticeship programs.
Inslee plans to release his transportation package Tuesday and climate change plan Wednesday.