With a crowd of school district supporters observing, Governor Inslee signed the levy cliff bill, SB 5023. In addition to delaying the levy cliff one year (to calendar year 2019), it adds in “accountability measures” designed to ensure local levies do not fund basic education costs.
Here is the accountability language: “Beginning in calendar year 2018, to ensure M&O levies are not used for basic education programs, school districts must provide a report to OSPI detailing the programs and activities that will be funded through the proposed levy. OSPI must approve the report before a ballot proposition can be submitted for voter approval.
Enrichment beyond the state-provided funding in the omnibus appropriations act for basic education programs is a permitted use of M&O levies.”
Now we wait to see if the legislature can come up with a McCleary solution that will permanently take the pressure off local levies to fund basic education.