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Evan Smith |
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013, 2:12 p.m.

McAuliffe's hopes education funding bill gets airing

Democratic state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe hopes that her bill to meet the state Supreme Court's order to provide full state support for basic education within five years will get a hearing before the Senate ways and means committee.*

The bill would move the state toward full support by 2018 of the basic-education standards set in 2009 when McAuliffe was chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education.

McAuliffe had expected to continue as committee chairwoman when voters elected a majority of Democrats to the Senate in the 2012 election, but was demoted to the position of ranking member when two conservative Democrats joined with Republicans to form a majority coalition and install a Republican as chair of the education committee.

After the new education chairman wouldn't call a hearing on McAuliffe's bill, she persuaded him to move it to the ways and means committee, where it will get a hearing this week.

McAuliffe and another Democratic member of the education committee both have sponsored bills that have been transfered to the ways and means committee.

"It is of paramount importance to have an open dialogue," McAuliffe said. "This way we can all participate in our shared priority to fully fund our K-12 obligations and provide a high-quality education for all kids."

Senate bills 5570, sponsored by McAuliffe, and 5573, sponsored by Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, address the state's constitutional obligation to fully support a basic education for every student, as ordered under the court's McCleary decision. The court has directed this Legislature to establish a phase-in plan that addresses all areas of K-12 education identified in recent education reform legislation.

McAuliffe's bill would establish the state's final 2018 basic education funding obligations as anticipated by the landmark education reform legislation passed in 2009 and recognized by the Supreme Court as the path to an adequate education to every Washington child. Rolfes' bill enacts the spending recommendations of the Joint Task Force on Education Funding, addressing how the state should begin the phase-in of education investments over the next several years.

McAuliffe represents the 1st Legislative District, including most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell.

Evan Smith can be reached at

* Correction, Feb. 28, 2013: This article originally incorrectly stated the status of the bill.

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