Another McCleary fix proposed by Senate Democrats; an attempt to find a middle road.

The House has yet to pass its school funding plan, but already Democratic state senators are tossing another proposal in the mix. Earlier, we posted a roundup of analysis and opinion of the competing proposals at play in Olympia. The Seattle Times reports on the latest entry, SB 5825.

The proposal is intended to be a middle-ground solution between the current Democratic and Republican proposals to satisfy the state Supreme Court’s education-funding order known as the McCleary decision. 

The plan, sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, attempts to tackle McCleary differently — and less expensively — than other existing proposals. 

Instead of other plans that would reduce local-property tax levies and then find other state revenue to fund education, Mullet’s plan would make the current local tax levies permanent. 

Levy dollars from each district would be sent to the state, which would return that amount to each district. 

Then, the state would add about $750 million every two years in levy-equalization assistance, a program used to help out “property-poor” school districts.

We haven’t yet seen the bill, yet. When we do we’ll link to it. 

The Senate has already passed a comprehensive basic education funding and reform measure, so it’s not immediately clear when or if the Mullet proposal will get a hearing. Yet, as the two chambers appear divided, anything can happen as the Legislature attempts to wrap up the McCleary lawsuit. 

Seattle Times reporter Joseph O’Sullivan writes,

Mullet’s approach tries to satisfy concerns on each side of the McCleary debate. 

Republicans want to see a more fair funding system for “property-poor” school districts. Democrats, meanwhile, don’t like the idea that a district such as Seattle should send more of its tax dollars to rural parts of the state without getting anything in return for its students.

On this, Day 37 of the regular session, we suspect we’ve a long way to go before agreement is reached.