Governor Inslee just released his supplemental budget requests. Though there are a variety of K12 and higher education budget changes he recommends, the most significant was his proposal to move forward by one year the State’s funding for K 12 salaries; a direct response to the Washington State Supreme Court’s recent McCleary order. The cost of this change ($759 million dollars) will be paid for by reducing the $1 billion rainy day fund (and possibly a carbon tax). If the legislature goes along with Inslee’s proposal, the State will have completed all of the steps required by the Supreme Court to fully fund basic education.
Other significant changes he has proposed:
- $17.2 million for high school and beyond programs for 7th and 8th graders, including $3.8 million to hire more middle school counselors;
- $12.8 million to increase Opportunity Scholarships;
- $5.2 million retiree remittance adjustment ($68.67 increased to $69.57);
- K 12 2018-19 insurance funding increased from $840 per FTE to $845.18;
- $20 million increase to special education funding;
- Increase from $8 million to $21 million the funding necessary to implement SEBB (School Employee Benefit Board).
What is the likely effect if the legislature increases funding for classified employee salaries in the 2018-19 school year instead of the 2019-20 school year? The 36.5% increase (from $34,180 to $46,647) starting September 1, 2018, sounds great but remember this is an allocation increase that is limited by other laws (primarily EHB 2242 passed in the 2017 legislative session). That law limited our access to the increased funding for classified employee salary allocations over the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school year. If the legislature agrees to raise the allocation as proposed by Governor Inslee, this law will also have to be changed in the 2018 legislative session. PSE will be advocating to increase the allocation as proposed by the Governor and change the law to do no harm to classified employees ability to get reasonable cost of living adjustments and market based salaries.