In his 2018 supplemental operating budget, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee proposed spending $950 million to reach full funding of state salary allocations for educators and school staff in the 2018-19 school year. This would move up the state’s salary phase-in by a year, which would resolve the problem raised by the Supreme Court last month that the Legislature hadn’t demonstrated compliance in amply funding basic education by the Sept. 1, 2018 deadline.
Saying that school districts, teachers and students were counting on the state to do it now, and pointing to positive revenue growth, Inslee said that this was the “final step” in McCleary. His budget proposal would tap unrestricted budget reserves, which under his proposal would be replaced if the Legislature adopted a carbon pricing plan. It also would shift apportionment payments around so that more funding would land prior to the start of the 2018-19 school year.
The spending plan also includes smaller investments in career-connected learning, guidance counselors in middle school, suicide prevention training, bilingual educator pilots on both sides of the Cascades, among other policy priorities.
On special education, rather than using OSPI’s suggestion of increasing the multiplier to determine state funding per student, the Governor’s proposal would expand the safety net program by lowering the safety net threshold, beginning in the 2018-19 school year. In a briefing, Governor’s budget staff said they paid for 10 staff to work in the safety net program processing applications, providing technical assistance to school districts, and to comply with the federal ESSA law. Increased funding for safety net payments would begin in fiscal year 2020, because safety net funds are disbursed in August, the last month of the school year.