House votes to move education funding burden on to local taxpayers

DeBolt says state shirking its responsibility

A measure that would place a greater burden on local taxpayers to pay for basic education passed the state House of Representatives on Saturday. House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, characterized House Bill 2893 as misguided, and said it is evidence that majority lawmakers have not set proper priorities as they attempt to balance the state budget.

“Education is the state’s paramount duty, and yet this bill would unfairly shift the burden for funding education on to local property taxpayers, even as the courts are telling the state it’s not doing enough,” said DeBolt.

“The real travesty of this funding approach is that it tells children in rural, property-poor school districts that they don’t matter as much as children in affluent schools,” DeBolt said. “This measure would create tremendous disparity in the resources available to rural school districts compared to others. It flies in the face of our obligation to provide ample and uniform funding for all children.”

House Bill 2893 would increase the levy capacity for local school districts by 4 percent. It would increase local assistance to property-poor district by 2 percent, which DeBolt called a meager buy off.

“It’s a failed education funding model. Some districts cash in on rich property values while others beg for scraps in local assistance,” DeBolt said.

DeBolt said he supports another levy reform bill, House Bill 2670, which also passed the House on Saturday. House Bill 2670 would allow local districts to collect the full amount of its voter-approved levies, even if the state cuts funding to schools. Under current law, local levy collections must be reduced if the state does not provide funding at projected levels.

“At the end of the day, we need to get to a point where the state is meeting its constitutional obligation to fund the fundamentals of education first, and levies are for the extra things that the community deems important,” DeBolt said.

House Bill 2893 and House Bill 2670 both are headed to the Senate for consideration.

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Contact: John Handy, Deputy Communications Director, (360) 786-5758


Washington State House Republican Communications