Seattle Times editorial reminds legislators to focus on student outcomes, along with school funding

Even as attention turns to the House budget release, it’s important to maintain a clear focus on what funding buys. That’s the theme of a recent Seattle Times editorial.

THIS should be the historic legislative session when lawmakers end the inequitable and unconstitutional way Washington pays for public schools. Fulfilling the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling to fully fund education while improving students’ outcomes is clearly job No. 1.

One must not happen without the other. 

The editorial concludes,

Lawmakers must remember their paramount duty is adequate public education, not budget cuts or happy taxpayers.

The editorial runs down some things it likes and disliked about the Senate plan and speculates about what the House will do. The give-and-take offers a preliminary view of what’s likely to dominate legislative negotiations over the next few weeks. 

Among the Times’ likes:

The budget spotlights the need for big changes in how the state negotiates collective bargaining agreements with public employees. Gov. Jay Inslee negotiates those deals in secret with labor unions that are his biggest political supporters. The Senate budget does not fund the agreements, setting up a negotiating position that should lead to necessary reforms.

That’s an item that emerges asa point of some dispute for the editorial board of the Olympian. 

For more background on the current collective bargaining discussion, see this overview by Melissa Santos in The News Tribune.