OLYMPIA – Seattle Public Schools is facing a $74 million budget shortfall and may be forced to increase class sizes, cut special programming and disrupt staffing as described in a letter sent out from the district.
“I am so sad that we haven’t been able to fix the levy cliff in time to prevent these changes from being enacted,” said Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Seattle. “We will keep working to fully fund education this session to prevent any cuts from happening.”
Passed out of the House over a month ago, SHB 1059 would have extended levy capacity for school districts but the measure has stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“As a father of four kids in Seattle schools, I’m also frustrated that the state Legislature hasn’t yet made sufficient progress on fulfilling our paramount duty,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle. “We are at a critical juncture to fully fund K-12 in our state and the Legislature has fallen far short. We’ve unnecessarily placed our state’s school districts in danger by failing to simply allow them to protect their own local levy money while the Legislature struggles to find a workable solution. My indefatigable colleagues Reps. Tarleton, Frame and I are adamant that we will keep pushing until the Legislature secures an ample, equitable, and sustainable future for our kids’ education. We are better than this as a state.”
In addition to the cuts facing Seattle Public Schools, nearly every district in the state is also preparing for cuts in the coming months if a levy solution fails to pass out of the full Legislature.
“Again and again we have asked our Republican colleagues in the Senate to pass the ‘Levy Cliff’ bill to avoid this massive disruption to our children’s education. They have refused to take up the legislation, despite our urgency, and our requests to honor the promise we made to school districts across the state,” said Rep. Noel Frame, D-Seattle. “Now we see the consequences of their inaction. Today our schools are being asked to plan for the worst. They are getting ready for larger class sizes and teachers moving from school to school at the beginning of the school year. This problem is avoidable. This does not have to happen. The Senate can avoid this disruption to our children’s learning by passing this simple and straight forward fix. They should do the right thing, and if they don’t, they should be held accountable.”