The Washington Education Association (WEA) spent most of the 2015 legislative session demanding that lawmakers fund full-day kindergarten and fully fund its so-called smaller class size (read “money grab”) initiative, I-1351. The WEA got what it wanted in terms of the former demand. As part of the state budget, the Legislature included funding for the immediate statewide implementation of full-day kindergarten.
And, it’s already backfiring.
It appears that not all school districts will be able to take advantage of the state’s full-day kindergarten funding this year, “which goes first to schools with the highest percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.” According to recent reports, two elementary schools in Mead and one in Central Valley “turned down state money for full-day kindergarten programs because they don’t have enough room.” The Spokesman Review,
“Six districts that qualified for the program had to turn down money the state was offering. Farwell and Brentwood Elementary in the Mead School District don’t have the capacity yet to handle full-day kindergarten, which would mean an extra classroom in each. It already has full-day kindergarten at Shiloh Hills Elementary and will accept the money to expand it at Evergreen Elementary this fall.”
Fully funding the WEA’s I-1351 runs much the same risk. Some schools have already struggled to meet the Legislature’s mandates to reduce class sizes. Evergreen Height Elementary in Auburn has been forced to hold some classes in the library, the gym and a new portable. The school gym actually accommodates two classes. Regular gym classes can no longer be held inside. Understandably, parents of children who have been designated to these makeshift classes are worried.
As Washington Policy Center has pointed out, I-1351 would force more schools to create makeshift classes in order to meet new standards. Of course, the WEA isn’t all that concerned with the consequences of its demands. That’s probably because the WEA would stand to profit $1,000—via forced union dues every year—from each of the new hired staff necessary to make I-1351’s so-called smaller class size promise possible. Meanwhile, working families would be hit with an even heavier tax burden. But, insists the WEA, it’s all “for the children.”
Looks like we should take the $820M which Sen. Baumgartner wants for his pet pork freeway in Spokane, and spend it instead on building additional classrooms statewide. After all, we should “Fund Education First,” correct?
Not Really Pork friend. We have been waiting for over 50 years for some crumbs left over from the west side.
Not Really Pork friend.
Well, the current WSDOT wish list puts the two halves of the Spokane freeway project at no. 11 and no. 47, respectively, with a whole list of safety improvements to existing infrastructure shown as more important. Also, Sen. Baumgartner has been insisting on both parts being built now, and has crowed about how much state taxpayer money will be spent in Spokane. These are all classic symptoms of a pork-laden boondoggle.
We have been waiting for over 50 years for some crumbs left over from the west side.
Actually, Spokane County has done very well by the state, repeatedly receiving more expenditures in state funds per-capita than it sends to Olympia in taxes paid.
Right, sorry, but budgets aren’t like your inability to focus, they don’t get to roam around from topic to topic on a whim. You’re getting desperate, this attempt at a derail didn’t even make sense, you just went straight from kindergarten to a highway in Spokane, but whatever it takes to defend the WEA and their failed attempts at grabbing more money, right?
… you just went straight from kindergarten to a highway in Spokane…
Yes, the topic is public expenditures by Washington state. School funding is, per the Washington State Constitution, more important than freeway construction (or anything else). Therefore, shortfalls in spending for education require either new taxes, or redirection of less essential spending. I opted to give an example of the latter. You’re free to give your own example(s) of either.