Washington State House Democrats


Statements from House and Senate Democrats on today’s McCleary oral arguments

House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-Covington), Education Funding Task Force member

“For nearly a decade, the Legislature has worked to fully fund our public schools. We continue building an amply funded education system that provides opportunities to learn for every child. Although the Legislature has invested $13 billion in new funding for K-12 schools, that shouldn’t be the measure of our success. We will focus on the best interests of our children by supporting programs and funding that help them receive the best education possible.”


Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island), Education Funding Task Force member
“The budget this year made the biggest investment in public education in a generation, and a great deal of benefit to students and educators will result from it. That said we know some work remains, particularly with regards to funding for special education and the need to pass a capital budget to build more classrooms. I look forward to working with my colleagues this session to addressing the concerns we’ve heard in conversations with our school districts.”


Senator Andy Billig (D-Spokane), Education Funding Task Force member
“Coming into the 2017 legislative session, we knew that resolving our state’s education funding crisis would be a complex process. The K-12 funding and policy plan we passed was a significant step forward. With that said, I recognize there is more work to be done. Since the day after HB 2242 passed, we have been working with school districts, educators and parents to address concerns they have raised and to ensure that every child has a chance to reach their fullest potential. Moving forward, I will also continue to work with my colleagues to respond to any concerns the Court may have.”


Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Dungeness), House Capital Budget Committee Chair
“I’m pleased that the Court asked key questions today about the lack of a capital budget. While there may not be the same constitutional mandate on the state for school construction as there is for providing basic education, the reality is there is a backlog of school construction in every part of the state. The House passed a strong, bipartisan capital budget that included an unprecedented $1 billion for school construction. Those schools aren’t being built because the Republican-led Senate is holding it hostage in exchange for a totally unrelated water policy bill. This is not the kind of governing our residents want.

“Our constituents elected us to find solutions and provide opportunities for the next generation, not to be so rigid to the point where gridlock wins in Olympia. It doesn’t have to be this way. Once again, I call on Senate Republicans to withdraw their hold on the bipartisan capital budget so that we can resume school construction and provide those opportunities to learn for all kids.”