Washington State House Democrats


House votes to save schools from the “Levy Cliff”

1/26/17 Update
How much funding could your local public schools lose if HB 1059 doesn’t pass the Senate soon? Click on your city in the map below to find out.

Every child deserves opportunities to learn.

Every child deserves a chance to reach their dreams.

House Democrats made a promise to fully fund schools and we are committed to honoring that promise this session.

Today the House of Representatives voted on its first bill of the 2017 Legislative session – HB 1059. You may have heard this referred to as the “Levy Cliff” bill.

For decades, the state has underfunded education. But through efforts led by House Democrats in 2009 and 2010, the Legislature passed education funding reforms to get the state back on the right track to fully funding education.

In an effort to lessen the negative impacts from the Great Recession on school budgets, the Legislature gave local school districts some additionally leeway to raise local levies to help make up for state funding shortfalls. This additional flexibility is set to expire this year, but as you’ve probably heard, the Legislature hasn’t completely finished its work on fully funding education.

Without this bill, thousands of talented, high-quality young teachers will finish this school year uncertain about whether they will get layoff notices – the last thing this state needs in the middle of a teacher shortage crisis.

The Levy Cliff bill extends the temporary provisions for one year and avoids the possibility, however remote, of $358 million in cuts to local schools. It’s essentially an insurance policy that ensures school budgets won’t be cut while the Legislature continues to work on an education funding solution.

The House passed this bill in 2016 with large bipartisan support (91-7) and it passed again today by a vote of 62-35. But all indications point to a dead end in the Republican-controlled Senate, even though the bill should have enough support with at least one Republican Senator agreeing it needs to pass.

Getting HB 1059 to the governor’s desk soon is critical to ensuring your local schools and 1.1 million students do not face the threat of drastic funding cuts. Click here to see how much your local schools could lose if HB 1059 dies in the Senate again.