Senate Democrats delivered on a promise to slash state spending, unveiling a proposed budget this morning that includes more than $1.3 billion in cuts to public schools and higher education.I-728 would be practically eliminated--a 93% reduction. In the Olympia School District, where I teach, that would mean the loss of 48 full-time teaching positions. There's simply no way retirement or other normal attrition can account for that, which means that should this budget pass, we're facing steep, painful cuts.
Budget documents indicate cuts of $877 million for public schools. Lawmakers would reduce funding for Initiative I-728, which was approved by voters in 2000 to reduce class sizes; trim levy equalization money for property-poor districts, and cut spending for other programs. Exact cuts by category were not immediately available.
Or is all this a ploy to get Washington's citizens to pay higher taxes, and to force Governor Gregoire into a political corner? A spectacular game of legislative chicken?
Update: The House budget is only slightly less painful.