Statement from State Superintendent Randy Dorn on the end of the Legislature’s Special Session
June 11 - Today, the state Legislature adjourned after failing to pass an operating budget. Gov. Jay Inslee has called all legislators back tomorrow for a second special session. Below is a statement from State Superintendent Randy Dorn on the first special session.
I’m disappointed that the Legislature didn’t pass a budget.
The most recent budget we saw was the Senate’s, which passed this past weekend. It continues to underfund the Supreme Court’s call to adequately fund basic education.
In addition, the Senate’s proposal makes troubling decisions similar to those they made in their original budget in April:
- It consolidates many smaller programs into the Learning Assistance Program. The Senate’s proposal folds many dropout-prevention programs into LAP. LAP is its own program and is not designed for dropout prevention.
- It effectively eliminates state funded Career and Technical Education. The Senate’s proposal cuts $49.2 million materials, supplies and operating costs (MSOC) for CTE students. It would give districts less money for those students than for non-CTE students, which would effectively end state funded CTE programs.
- It changes testing requirements, which will lead to fewer graduates. The Senate’s proposal assumes that the Smarter Balanced Assessment will be used as the state’s high school graduation requirement. That assessment, though, isn’t designed to be a test to measure high school proficiency, and could lead to as many as 65 percent of our students not passing.
More generally, the Senate’s proposal increases basic education funding by roughly $1 billion. Last week I said the House budget, which increased basic education about the same amount, didn’t go far enough to satisfy the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. I feel the same way this week about the budget passed by the Senate.
The minimum amount needed to put this state on the path to adequately funding education, according to the Quality Education Council, is $1.4 billion. Anything less puts this state in danger of failing to meet its constitutional duty.
Finally, I’m troubled by how different the Senate and House budgets are. As we head into a second special session, it doesn’t appear that the two chambers are close to an agreement. A government shutdown would be a disaster for our schools. On Friday I delivered a letter (attached) to legislative leaders laying out some of the effects of not passing a state budget.
It is time for the House and Senate to agree to put off divisive policy debates and simply pass a state budget that meets our basic constitutional responsibilities.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.