Majority Coalition has a plan to fund education | Sen. Jan Angel

Sen. Jan Angel R-Port Orchard

By SEN. JAN ANGEL, 26th Legislative District-R

By this point, you likely have heard about the issues Washington is having with funding education. Central to this issue is the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, which determined that the state was not meeting its own standards for full funding of schools.

After 30 years of letting other parts of the budget increase by more than two-to-one over education, we accomplished the exact opposite once the Majority Coalition Caucus took control of the Senate. New budget dollars went toward education over other programs at a rate of three-to-one, totaling $4.6 billion of increased education funding.

More than 30 years ago, the state began to allow local school districts to fund more and more of school budgets through local levies, which helped the state to avoid its education responsibilities and spend its money elsewhere. This led to each school district (all 295) setting their own levy rates that can range from 33 cents in one district to as much as $9.05 in another.

Not only is this unfair for taxpayers and property owners across the state, but it’s bad for schools, too. Each district has very different property values and populations from other districts, which means that one district with a lower levy rate can still raise hundreds or even thousands more than districts with much higher rates.

That’s why this year the Majority Coalition Caucus delivered and passed a plan to change the way education is funded. Let me summarize what the plan will do and then I invite you to send me your feedback:

Funds schools on a per-student basis.

— Guarantees a minimum of $12,500 per student.

— Sets a statewide flat levy rate of $1.80 for schools

— Provides additional funding per-student for low income, homeless, English language learner, special education and highly capable children.

— Increases starting teacher pay by $10,000.

— Rewards excellent teachers and provides accountability for detrimental teachers.

— Sets accountability goals for graduation rates and student learning.

— Sends the plan to voters to give final approval.

Here’s what that means for each of our local school districts in the 26th Legislative District:

South Kitsap School District: Right now, property owners are paying a $3.58 per $1,000 local levy rate. Our plan reduces that to $1.80, saving the average taxpayer $363 on their property tax bill. Students last year received $11,828 per student. Once our plan is implemented, by 2019 they will receive $915 more per student. Since 2012, that’s an increase of $3,124 per student.

Peninsula School District: Right now, property owners are paying a $2.30 per $1,000 local levy rate. Our plan reduces that to $1.80, saving the average taxpayer $164 on their property tax bill. Students last year received $11,782 per student. Once our plan is implemented, by 2019 they will receive $718 more per student. Since 2012, that’s an increase of $3,005 per student.

Bremerton School District: Right now, property owners are paying a $3.63 per $1,000 local levy rate. Our plan reduces that to $1.80, saving the average taxpayer $284 on their property tax bill. Students last year received $12,625 per student. Once our plan is implemented, by 2019 they will receive $796 more per student. Since 2012, that’s an increase of $2,846 per student.

This is a sweeping change to the way we fund schools and educate our children, so there are bound to be adjustments that need to be made. Your feedback is critical to making this plan work for all. Please visit my website, www.SenatorJanAngel.com, for more information on the plan and send your ideas, questions and concerns to Jan.Angel@leg.wa.gov.

Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, is in her fourth term representing the 26th District.

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