Washington State House Democrats


House approves budget that includes nearly $1 billion in additional teacher compensation funding

OLYMPIA – In what will be a critical component to putting the state in full compliance with the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling, the House of Representatives approved a supplemental two-year operating budget proposal that invests nearly $1 billion in additional teacher compensation funding by a vote of 50–46.

“We comply with the most recent Supreme Court order by fully funding school employee compensation over this next year,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington. “We also make a number of changes to the education reform bill that we passed last year to ensure districts have the resources necessary to carry out the core functions we ask them to carry out so that students have access to the programs necessary to help make sure they’re successful. “

Last year, lawmakers approved education funding reforms and an operating budget that will result in $13 billion in new state funding for public schools over a ten-year period starting in 2012. While the Court largely agreed with that plan, they said the state fell short of fully funding new teacher compensation requirements by the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Lawmakers originally made a policy decision to phase in the new teacher compensation funding over two years to give the 295 local school districts more time to implement the new reforms.

The budget approved tonight would push that funding out to districts for the next school year, bringing the state into full compliance with the Court’s McCleary orders.

In addition to nearly $1 billion in teacher compensation funding, the House budget also accounts for:

  • $156 million to fully fund the State Need Grant program over the next three years.
  • $339 million for increased services for people with mental illnesses.
  • $32 million to strengthen the safety net by fully restoring and increasing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

“We put families first. We put people first, by looking at our youngest among us and strengthening children and families services,” said Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, chair of the House Appropriations committee.

“The people that stop me at the grocery store when I’m at home ask me for the things that are important to them. And the thing I hear the most from my constituents is mental health. This budget invests roughly $100 million to help shore up community mental health networks around the state,” said Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, vice chair of the House Appropriations committee.

“Small business owners are the future of Washington in my opinion,” said Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles. “This budget invests about $5.5 billion in small business assistance in my district and across the state. This budget is about moving rural Washington forward.”

This is a supplemental budget, which is intended to make corrections and adjustments to the state’s two-year operating budget approved by lawmakers last year. The budget leaves more than $2.9 billion in reserves when the current fiscal year ends on June 30, 2019.

The state Senate approved their proposed budget on Friday. Budget leads from the House and Senate will work over the remaining days of the legislative session to resolve differences in the two budget proposals.

Complete budget documents can be found here: http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2018/ho2018p.asp

The 2018 legislative session ends on March 8, 2018.