2018 Legislative Agenda

1. Fund Educator Salaries with $1 Billion Funding in the 2018 Supplemental Budget from New Progressive Tax Sources

Background: In the November 2017 McCleary v. State ruling, the Washington Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to fund basic education with $1 billion additional by Sept. 1, 2018.

  • WPD calls on the Legislature to fund the $1 billion funding gap in the 2018 supplemental budget with progressive new revenue such as a capital gains tax and closing large corporate tax loopholes.
  • WPD opposes funding the $1 billion funding gap with the rainy day fund as it is an irresponsible use of the fund. The Legislature should not use surplus or rainy day funds unless it enacts progressive new revenue to backfill the amount borrowed from these funds.
  • WPD expects the Legislature to fund basic education with the additional $1 billion to fulfill the Court’s order as the Legislature promised to Washington’s children by September 1, 2018.


2. Pass a Capital Budget to Fund Essential School Building Improvements

Background: Approximately $2 billion is needed to fund new and renovated buildings to ensure that Washington schools can meet the lower class size mandate required by voters and that every child attends a school that is safe, not overcrowded, and seismically sound. Despite this need, the Legislature failed to pass a capital budget in the 2017 session.

  • WPD urges the Legislature to pass a capital budget with the proposed $1 billion in construction matching funds essential for school improvements.


3. Fix and Improve House Bill 2242 to Amply and Equitably Fund Basic Education

Background: HB 2242, which funds the states program of basic education, fails to amply and equitably fund basic education at levels that are both comparable to similarly prosperous states and necessary to close the opportunity gap and ensure success for every student.

  • WPD supports progressive new revenue to amply fund all aspects of our schools including sufficient counselors, school nurses, librarians, special education support, professional development needs, and staff increases to meet smaller class sizes for every child, especially children with greater needs.


4. Amend the Constitution to Require a Simple Majority to Pass School Bonds

Background: Passing school construction bonds currently requires a 60 percent supermajority, not a simple majority of 50 percent. Moreover, school construction bonds have a voter minimum requirement: the total number of voters must be at least 40 percent of the total at the last preceding general election. Between 2011 and 2017, 94 school districts lost bond votes that were greater than 50 percent (Seattle Times Editorial Nov. 19, 2017).

  • WPD supports HJR 4203, which would amend the state constitution to allow a simple majority without any minimum voter requirement.