Harris says House Democrat education plan falls short of reforms, funding
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SUGGESTED LEAD: Majority Democrats pushed their McCleary education funding plan through the House Wednesday, but without any way to pay for the billions of dollars in new spending. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.
SATTGAST: All eyes are on the state Legislature this session to see how it will address the education funding issue and bring the McCleary lawsuit to a close once and for all. But legislative Republicans say the House Democrat education plan passed Wednesday has no mechanism to fund the big-ticket spending items and falls short of reforms.
HARRIS: “The public, when they look at a plan like this, they wonder and they lose respect for this organization and their trust and confidence when we don't have money behind a plan. There aren't any really truly meaningful reforms in this plan. The plan doesn't reduce reliance on local levies. In fact, in some areas, it actually enhances local levies and our reliance.”
SATTGAST: That's Republican State Representative Paul Harris from Vancouver.
House Republicans offered seven amendments that focused on levy reform, class sizes, career and technical education, accountability and addressing failing schools. All but one were rejected by majority Democrats.
The measure passed the House, 50-47, but is expected to be dead immediately upon arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate. Meantime, the Senate Republican education funding plan sits dead in a House committee. With eight weeks remaining in the session, the question now is who blinks first and brings the plans to the negotiation table.
John Sattgast, Olympia.
###Washington State House Republican Communications
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