State Sen. Frockt says budget good for education

Monday, July 8, 2013

By Evan Smith

Democratic State Sen. David Frockt said recently that the new state budget is good for education, for both K-12 and higher education.

“There is no question that we have done much better for higher education than in recent memory,” Frockt said. “Holding the line on tuition requires additional direct state support to the colleges. Senate Democrats, from the first day of session, took the position that we had to reinvest in direct state support in order to do better on tuition, and we did.”

Frockt said that the budget makes a new investment of about $950 million toward complying with the State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision that requires the State to provide full support for public schools.

“Expanding all-day kindergarten from 22 percent to 44 percent of our schools is a good step forward,” Frockt said, adding, however, “I was disappointed that we were not able to secure any dedicated sources of new revenue – from unproductive tax exemptions, for example – to meet our long-term educational obligations.
“I sat on the joint task force on education funding and we developed a plan to fulfill our McCleary obligation that required about $1.4 billion this year and over $4.5 billion in new education dollars by 2018 – even more than $4.5 billion if you include issues like teacher compensation, which the state needs to do more to help with.
“This year, we were able to provide slightly less than $1 billion in McCleary funding through a recovering economy, lowering caseloads, suspending programs and a one-time shift of the $277 million from the public-works account.
“This is not structural change. This is piecemeal. We will NOT find $4.5 billion or more of K-12 funding through such accounting going forward. We need long-term finance changes in this state that will require additional revenue and structural changes in the budget. Both sides, including ours, need to be willing to reexamine old assumptions to move forward together on this historic challenge.”

Frockt represents the 46th Legislative District, including Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and northeast Seattle.


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