Lawmakers approve new state operating budget with billions for K-12 education
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SUGGESTED LEAD: It was a full day Friday as lawmakers worked to beat the midnight clock and passed a $43.7 billion dollar budget to keep state government operating for the next two years. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.
SATTGAST: The new budget will pump an additional $7.3 billion dollars into K-12 education over the next four years. Granger Representative Bruce Chandler is the House Republican's lead budget negotiator.
CHANDLER: “Certainly, for the first time in 30 years, the commitment has been made by this body to not only make education the paramount duty of the state, but to make it the top priority.”
SATTGAST: An agreement was reached Wednesday after Republican and Democratic lawmakers struggled to find the right solution to address the state Supreme Court's McCleary requirements. Under the new education funding plan, teachers will get substantial salary increases and beginning teacher pay will start at $40 thousand dollars a year. Vancouver Republican Representative Paul Harris was among the negotiators on the McCleary Work Group.
HARRIS: “This bill has something for every student, those who have difficulty learning, those that have special needs. This bill will impact every classroom, every student.”
SATTGAST: Some lawmakers, including 12th District Representative Cary Condotta, expressed concern, however, about a 13 percent growth in state spending and new tax increases.
CONDOTTA: “It's still a substantial increase in taxes. It's a major property tax increase regardless of who pays it. The other side got what they wanted. We may have got a better policy. But they got the money.”
SATTGAST: The budget was sent to the governor who signed the measure before the end of the state's fiscal cycle at midnight Friday. John Sattgast, Olympia.
###Washington State House Republican Communications
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