Lawmakers to discuss dollars for schools at forum

January 15, 2013

By Warren Kagarise

The public can hear from top education and budget leaders in the Legislature about the funding challenges facing public schools Jan. 22 at a League of Education Voters forum.

Steve Litzow

Steve Litzow

Ross Hunter

Ross Hunter

The organization, a statewide education advocacy group, invited a Democrat, state Rep. Ross Hunter, and a Republican, state Sen. Steve Litzow, to discuss competing visions for education funding in Washington.

Residents can listen to the Eastside lawmakers — Litzow is a Mercer Island resident; Hunter hails from Medina — at the King County Library System Administration Building.

The incoming Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee chairman, Litzow, represents Issaquah and other communities in the 41st Legislative District, a suburban swath between lakes Washington and Sammamish.

Hunter leads the powerful House Appropriations Committee — the panel responsible for crafting the state budget.

Get involved

League of Education Voters education funding forum

  • 7-8:30 p.m. Jan. 22
  • King County Library System Administration Building
  • 960 Newport Way N.W.
  • The forum is free and open to the public. Email info@educationvoters.org to register.

In Olympia, he represents the affluent 48th Legislative District, a collection of Eastside communities stretched from Medina to Redmond, and from Kirkland to Bellevue. Until redistricting last year, Hunter represented some Issaquah neighborhoods in the Legislature.

The question of how to fund education with limited dollars is the central challenge facing state lawmakers.

The state Supreme Court ruling in McCleary v. State of Washington last year ordered the Legislature to fully fund basic education by 2018.

Forum attendees can listen to a brief explanation on the projected revenue shortfall for the 2013-15 budget and the costs associated with meeting the McCleary ruling.

The high court is responsible for monitoring the Legislature’s progress on education funding under the ruling. Justices criticized lawmakers last month for a lack of progress on requirements set in the decision.

Meanwhile, even as the state is court-mandated to fully fund education, lawmakers face a $900 million shortfall in the next budget cycle.

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