Here's the latest from Olympia...

The school district "reorganization" bill (read: consolidation) was given a hearing and appeared to be dead (see the previous Ryan's Watch for the committee testimony), but in the budget bills that are being moved through the House and Seante the issue was given new life. SB6444 seems to be the vehicle that's being used to move the budget, and if you go to page 158 of the budget you can see tha language in question. It's something we're keeping a very close eye on, and I'll let you know what the final product turns out to be.

You can see the current budget bill here.

Similarly, levy equalization took a hit yesterday that could scuttle the whole enterprise. The WEA-supported levy bill, HB2893, is essentially dead after languishing in the Senate Ways and Means committee. What the Senate had done, thoughy, is move their own levy equalization bill (SB6518) which differs from the House bill in two incredible significant ways:

  1. The House bill had a severability clause which stated that if any part of the bill was vetoed, the whole bill was vetoed. What this meant is that the legislature couldn't move on raising the levy lid without raising level equalization, which is better for the small schools here in Eastern.
  2. The House bill also had a 2% lift to levy equalization for ALL schools that receive LEA; an amendment put into the Senate bill would only raise the LEA amount for certain districts. This is an amendment that would certainly not pass through the Houe, meaning that the whole bill could be at risk -- the levy lid lift, the increase to levy equalization, the restructure of the levy base, all of it.

The current levy equalization bill can be found here.

And click here for an update from Rich Wood, the WEA Communications Specialist who works out of the Olympia office.

Please email me if you have questions.