Mar 30, 2009

playing chicken in the legislature

The budget details from the Senate are out, and if you're an educator, or anyone who cares about educational quality in Washington... better grab your beta-blockers.
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.

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.
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.

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.

1 comment:

TeacherRefPoet said...

Don't forget that retirements will be way down this year. Many who thought they would retire after this year changed their plans after their retirement money vanished in the fall. So it'll be even worse than normal.