Inslee to sign 2 education bills Wednesday

Supplemental budget just a stopgap measure

Jay Inslee
Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during his annual State of the State address Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in Olympia, Wash. The address came on the second day of the 60-day legislative session. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee plans to sign two education bills in Seattle on Wednesday.

He is scheduled to sign a measure that will help improve education for foster youth just after noon at a luncheon at the Seattle Sheraton. Then he will be visiting a Seattle middle school to sign a bill aimed at closing the educational opportunity gap.

House Bill 1999 tells education and child welfare agencies to work together to help foster kids get a better education. It moves administration of education programs to help foster kids work toward college into the education department.

House Bill 1451 is aimed at closing the achievement gap between students of different ethnic groups.

The measure calls for an end to long-term and open-ended suspensions and expulsions. It also improves bilingual instruction and asks for more cultural competency training for educators.


OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Legislature has adjourned its overtime special session.

Lawmakers finished their work late Tuesday night after passing a supplemental budget and overriding the gubernatorial vetoes of 27 bills.

Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed the bills earlier this month when a supplemental budget deal wasn’t reached before the end of the 60-day legislative session in early March.

Inslee called the supplemental budget passed by the Legislature a “good compromise.”

In a written statement released Tuesday night, Inslee said supplemental budgets are intended to make modest adjustments and updates to the two-year budget, and this is “exactly what legislators accomplished.”

Inslee said there is more work to do next year on efforts to aid a shortage of public school teachers, mental health and education.

The budget passed on a 27-17 vote Tuesday, hours after the House passed the measure on a 78-17 vote. The measure would increase spending in the two-year budget adopted in 2015 by $191 million.

The agreement includes $28 million for safety improvements and other aid at the state’s mental health hospitals, $7 million for recruiting new public school teachers and retaining existing ones and would also spend $190 million from the state’s emergency fund to address damage from the last round of wildfires.

Previous logjam

Budget director David Schumacher said during a media briefing on Jan. 16 that no one ever expected the Legislature to finish the work set out by the Supreme Court in the 2012 McCleary decision until the 2017 session.

But that doesn’t mean they haven’t been working on a solution to the remaining issues up for debate. Those issues focus on the state’s overreliance on local school tax levies and how to pay teachers with mostly state dollars.

Schumacher says the governor will share the results of those ongoing discussions late in the fall, after the election, but before the Legislature reconvenes in January 2017.

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