Legislature approves education reform

The state legislature approved the education reform bill known as ESSB 2261. Last Thursday evening the Senate passed it with a 26-23 vote and Monday night the House voted to accept the updated version 67-31. The definition of education in Washington has not been changed since 1979.

The bill extends the definition of basic education to include all day kindergarten, high achieving programs, six periods for high and middle schools and changes the funding formulas for schools. High school students will also be required to earn 24 credits in order to graduate. In the version approved by the legislature no funding is provided and full implementation is not scheduled until 2018.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Chris Gregoire to be signed, which many school related groups expect will happen.

In other legislature news the SHB 1776 also passed the Senate with a 37-10 vote. This bill will change the way district's calculate levy amounts as the levy base will be restored to levels prior to the economic downturn. This would mean that MISD would not see a reduction in the amount of local levy dollars, something which would have been guaranteed if HB 1776 does not pass. The bill will return to the House for another review before it goes to the governor's desk.

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