HEAT ADVISORY today in Western Washington

Senate Republicans release education funding plan

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Senate Republicans have released an education funding plan that seeks to replace local school levies with a statewide uniform rate earmarked for schools.

The plan was released Friday, and lawmakers say a public hearing is planned for Monday. The levy reform is expected to bring in $2 billion a year for education, and the state would also spend an additional $700 million, though Republicans say they can do that with existing resources. Most of the measure would be subject to a referendum to voters in November.

Lawmakers are working to comply with a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling that they must fully fund the state’s basic education system. Lawmakers have already put more than $2 billion toward the issue since the ruling, but the biggest piece remaining of the court order is figuring out how much the state must provide for teacher salaries. School districts currently pay a big chunk of those salaries with local property-tax levies.