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House, Senate release budget proposals

02/24/2020
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Capitol from the sky

Feb. 25, 2020 

Updated and corrected. Changes indicated in italics

Feb. 24, 2020

Today the House and the Senate released their 2020 supplemental operating budgets. The good news is state revenues are up and caseloads are down creating extra spending capacity in the state’s budget. This budget made greater investments in the state’s safety net programs such as homelessness/affordable housing, mental health and early learning. 

In addition to several great policy bills that are moving through both the House and Senate, the budgets also address many of WEA’s priorities for session with funding that will benefit students, staff and communities.  

Below is a high level overview of both proposals.  

Proposed in Both Budgets

  • Funds the Plan 1 COLA for our retirees.
  • Higher education budgets included compensation for UW collective bargaining agreements, a collection of studies to be completed, and some targeted investments in math, engineering, science, and technology.
  • No new revenue sources were created this year as the state received higher than expected revenue and costs are down.

House Proposal

  • $51 million to allocate an additional 0.5 FTE counselor for every school qualifying as high poverty.
  • $47 million hold harmless for calendar year 2020 local effort assistance (LEA) payments to keep them at 2019 levels.  Assessed property values are up. Without this hold harmless school districts would have seen a significant reduction in LEA. (This means LEA districts will net a combined local levy and LEA amount in excess of $1,500 per pupil.)
  • $41 million for additional student transportation formula costs over the biennium.
  • $17 million for paraprofessional training, which continues two days of training for the next school year. 

Senate Proposal

  • $46 million hold harmless for calendar year 2020 local effort assistance payments to keep them at 2019 levels. (Similar to the increase the House provided.)
  • $68 million for additional student transportation formula costs over the biennium.
  • $13 million for paraprofessional training, which funds two days of training for the next school year. (The Senate makes different assumptions than the House.)
  • $10 million to fund an increase to the general inclusion special education multiplier, as requested by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

While the budgets don’t propose the exact same investments, they each also propose making small investments targeted toward racial and social justice, including funding a statewide office of equity and inclusion, K-12 ethnic studies, tribal history curricula, and racial literacy professional learning.

The proposals each had a public hearing in the respective chamber’s fiscal committee this afternoon. We expect to see amendments and changes in the days ahead, before the budgets to pass out of each chamber by the end of the week. Once that occurs, both sides will negotiate the final budget proposal.

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