State not meeting its mandate to fully fund K-12 education

I am a parent of a recent graduate and two high schoolers in the Mukilteo School District. I have been hearing for years about how the Legislature’s response to the McCleary decision was supposed to fully fund public education. Eleven years and a lawsuit later, the situation is no better. The McCleary’s definition of “basic education” is wholly inadequate. Our schools are so much more than “basic education.”

Now, in addition to the state not truly fully funding education, districts are now no longer allowed to make up what they are missing with levies. Bringing everyone down to the lowest funding level is not only inequitable, it will be disastrous. Instead, lawmakers must bring every district up to a level that fully funds special education, provides adequate staffing to support a host of new state mandates, provides staff compensation that reflects cost of living, fully funds transportation costs, and supports learning recovery from the pandemic.

What messages are lawmakers sending to kids by failing to fully fund education? Our kids are our future. What should our priority be? The state needs to be investing in our future by fully funding public education.

And while you’re at it, change the funding model. School district costs are not based on attendance numbers. Most costs remain the same, unless attendance has decreased enough to close a school or offer considerably fewer classes. The situation is urgent; you must improve funding this legislative session. Consider this an investment in our kids and the future of our state.

Julie Buetow


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