Bellevue – Fundamental to WAGOP’s Project to Save Basic Education is the core belief that, while the state is duty-bound to fund basic education, families and local communities are best positioned to make the practical decisions about delivering that education to WA children.
According to the WA Constitution, the state’s “paramount duty” is to fund K-12 education programs, while the duty of local school boards is to build and implement those programs.
However, the recent bureaucratization of basic education in WA has weakened the system.
Today, half of the students cannot read or write at grade level—and nearly two-thirds can’t do simple mathematics at grade level.
These numbers are unacceptable. We must—and we will—do better.
Washington Republicans are committed to delivering a high-quality, uniform basic education to all children residing within the state’s borders. To do this, the state government must change the way it funds and manages public education here.
The recent Washington State Supreme Court ruling against small schools in the case of Wahkiakum School District v. Washington brings new urgency to this issue. The Court is simply wrong in trying to create artificial distinctions and separations between the construction costs of school buildings and the operating costs of running schools.
WA State Rep. Joel McEntire’s current bill, HB 1044, would clarify the process of funding construction and maintenance of school buildings in smaller school districts. Especially in the wake of the error-filled Wahkiakum School District court opinion, McEntire’s bill is the essential first step in remedying the physical-plant discrepancies faced by smaller school districts. And in bringing the constitutionally-required “uniform” basic education to all children, in every part of this state.
“This is an opportunity to assist schools that have structural deficiencies or safety concerns with their infrastructure and are in desperate need of capital funding,” McEntire said earlier this year, in a public statement describing his bill. “All students should have a quality learning environment no matter their school district or what region of Washington state they live.”
The WAGOP applauds Rep. McEntire’s efforts to bring this common-sense solution to a major problem in Washington state. We encourage the legislative leaders in Olympia to make passage of HB 1044 a priority in the upcoming legislative session.