Parents frustrated with education funding plan

RENTON, Wash. — The Washington State Senate Education Committee got an earful from frustrated parents, students and teachers Monday night.

The Senate is considering Bill 6130 to help meet the State Supreme Court’s order to fully fund education.  Right now the court is fining the state $100,000 per day for not meeting this burden.  The total is approaching $7 million.

“We would like to hear and have a dialog about funding an education,” Mike Muto said as he was tossed out of the meeting for interrupting. “It’s a waste of time when they say they are here to listen to people’s ideas about how to fund education but they’re talking about a bill that does not do that.”

Parents criticized the bill for planning to redistribute local levies state-wide.  They were also equally upset there was no suggestion of new taxes to pay for education.

“Each day our children suffer from your inaction,” said one parent.  “I can’t for the life of me figure out why you refuse to act -- offering up this non-solution.”

However, after the listening session State Sen. Bruce Dammeier, (R, Puyallup), defended the bill he is sponsoring.  He said the bill would mean the state would fully pay for school salaries, instead of communities needing to pass local taxes to do the same.

“We’re trying to correct with this bill 30 years of the state pushing responsibility back on local school districts. That’s wrong,” Dammeier said.  “It’s a big correction, but it’s critically necessary.”