State Senate passes $38 billion budget plan, seeks to scale back reductions in school class sizes
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Senate has passed a budget plan that seeks to save money, in part, by modifying a school class-size ballot measure.
The $38 billion two-year budget passed the chamber on a party-line 26-23 vote Monday. The House passed its own plan last week, and now both sides will work to negotiate a final plan before the 105-day legislative session ends later this month.
Before taking a final vote on the Senate plan, the chamber approved a bill to make changes on Initiative 1351, which reduced class sizes for all grades.
The cost to pay for the measure was in the billions, and the Senate bill only pays for reductions for kindergarten through third grade.
That change would go to voters for their approval or rejection.
In response, the Washington Education Association said, “It’s outrageous that these senators would intentionally deny students their right to succeed in school. They are putting politics ahead of our children’s needs. It’s disgraceful.
“The Senate’s vote to increase class sizes in the upper grades means students in grades fourth through 12th will remain packed into some of the largest class sizes in the entire country…
“WEA members call on the Legislature to fund and implement the smaller K-12 class sizes that voters approved and our children deserve.”