Friday, May 19, 2017

Update-->No Update on Fully Funding WA Public Schools

Wanting to know what big developments have happened to fully funding education for WA State public schools since I blogged about it last month? (Crickets...) Well we're deep into a special session and it looks like we're headed into another one because very little is happening. Republicans resist coming to the table and when they actually bring themselves to do something, it's a political stunt, designed only to embarrass the Democrats, not solve the problem. It ends up making lawmakers look foolish while WA School districts and parents are still like:

But we--citizens and parents of WA State--can do something. Below is an email I sent to the group currently negotiating the McCleary Education Funding Case (aka Education Funding Task Force) today reminding them of what we want and that we are STILL waiting. (Need a refresher on where the issue is right now? Click this Seattle Times article from today.)

You can do it too! Remind them that they are tasked with fixing the problem, not making it worse. Bonus points if any of these folks are YOUR actual reps. Since many of my friends and family still live in SW Washington, very likely Paul Harris or Ann Rivers could be your legislators and your input would go much farther! Just let them know what you care about and do it soon, if you would. Thank you!

(5/20/17: This list has been corrected and updated to reflect )

Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver
Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee
Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge
Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane
Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center
Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes
Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington
Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia


Dear Education Funding Task Force Members:

How is the plan coming? I know it's probably a very difficult process you've been undertaking these past months. But the special session will be over soon and having heard little to nothing from the task force, I thought I'd check in and remind you of what is important to us as a family.

1. Please don’t pit schools and services against each other. Washington can't fund public schools at the expense of mental health care, anti-poverty programs, homelessness assistance, higher education, or early education. 
2. We support a capital gains tax. The House capital gains tax proposal is an excellent idea. Washington voters like it too — a recent poll showed 65% support this plan. And we will be paying that tax too since we exercise stock from my husband's company every year.
3. We support closing tax breaks for big businesses. The state legislature must close some of the numerous, unaccountable tax loopholes. Washington gives away something like $30 billion in tax breaks each biennium, which translates to a ton of lost revenue and for what exactly? They should be paying us extra for the proximity to the hottest real estate and labor market in the country.
4. Most importantly: Please come up with a plan in earnest. The games, stunts, stonewalling (looking at you R's) shows us that you don't take this seriously or value the thing we value most: our children, specifically their well-being and future. 
As a parent, as a tax payer, as a citizen, inaction and game-playing makes me furious. Mostly because many of you are parents & grandparents too so fully funding education and bolstering it in a long term way should be in your interest as well.
Again, I look forward to seeing your plan and hope it will be very soon.

Kali Sakai
Seattle, WA