Fully funded education: Time to finish the job | Guest Column

  • Friday, January 27, 2017 3:55pm
  • Opinion

By Larry Springer and Roger Goodman

“Will the Legislature finally address its constitutional obligation to provide our children – all of them – the fully funded education system that assures their dreams will be a reality?”

When we took the oath of office this month in the House of Representatives, we did so knowing this one single question will define the 2017 Legislature.

The answer is an unequivocal “yes,” because they deserve it and our constitution mandates it.

We passed legislation in 2010 and again in 2012 requiring us to answer “yes” to the question. The state Supreme Court weighed in and agreed with us. So, this is the year. We’ve known since 2012 that this year was our deadline, so no more excuses. It is time for every legislator to step up and accept the challenge. It is what we were elected to do. We created a work group of four Democrats and four Republicans to propose plans to the Legislature by December of last year. By taking the best from each, we would reach a reasonable compromise that could garner sizable bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate. That’s how a good, working democracy gets hard things done.

Democrats presented a proposal at the appointed time. It’s a solution that ends the reliance on local levies to pay for basic education, pays teachers what they deserve, and ensures every school will be fully funded. However, our Republican colleagues did not propose a plan because they needed more time to study the situation. That may have been a reasonable position a year ago but not today, after working on this issue for more than five years. The time is now, no more excuses. We know our solutions are not perfect. We need a proposal from our colleagues so a robust debate can begin. It is not productive to just have a conversation with ourselves.

Every legislator agrees all 1.1 million Washington students deserve a high-quality teacher in every classroom, a safe place to learn, filled with up-to-date textbooks, the latest in teaching technology and smaller class sizes. And certainly most of us agree we will need additional revenue to make that happen. Our proposal outlines several possible revenue sources that meets our state’s needs while improving the fairness our very regressive tax code. We also know that compromises will need to occur and we look forward to the negotiation.

Robust negotiation is how we crafted a strong bipartisan solution to the budget crisis during the great recession in 2009-2013. It can happen again, it must happen again.

Our kids get one shot at a great education, 12 years go by in a heartbeat. We have talked about Washington’s school funding dilemma for too many of those 12-year cycles. No more excuses, no more delays. It’s time to finish the job.

Reps. Larry Springer and Roger Goodman serve the 45th Legislative District, which includes Redmond.

More in Opinion

Offer your input at city council budget hearing on Oct. 16 / Letters

With all the local government spending to end homelessness, why is there… Continue reading

Kavanaugh should be rejected / Letters

I find Republican caviling at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings baffling. For just… Continue reading

Trump should stand up for public lands / Letter

When Donald Trump was elected president, sportsmen had high hopes that the… Continue reading

I am going all in on Initiative 1631 / Guest column

By Mark Vossler, MD Guest Column As a physician, few things are… Continue reading

Funding sources for Downtown Park | Letter

n the environment that we are living in, all too often truth… Continue reading

Sammamish River Trail deserves attention | Letter

I have to add my agreement to the letter last month from… Continue reading

He’s not on the ballot but Inslee is campaigning like it

Republicans may find votes in making the election a referendum of the Democratic governor’s agenda.

A group of F3 members perform “Handslap Merkins” as they wait for the other group to return from a run around the parking lot. Photo Courtesy of Brian “Dilfer” Gawthrop
F3 brings local men together for fitness, fellowship and faith

Reporter Kailan Manadic participates in a morning workout with the local men’s fitness group and is nicknamed after a well-known crime dog.

Back to School and Back to Basics for Recycling

The season of freshly sharpened pencils, new backpacks and crisp sneakers is… Continue reading

Rumbling and rambling on the way to November | The Petri Dish

Republicans have to worry about Trump. Meanwhile, big money is flowing into initiative campaigns.

The default in our own stories | Editorial

Senior editor Samantha Pak reflects on what representation in media means to her.

No excuse for fake news rhetoric | Editorial

Journalists are being tossed into the anti-media waters being chummed by President Trump and others.