Fellow Democrats –
As part of our effort to help you stay up on the important news coming out of Olympia and the legislative session, we wanted to flag this important news story out this weekend in Spokane’s Spokesman-Review newspaper for you.
A public school funding proposal unveiled by state Republicans earlier this month could reduce the amount of money Spokane’s poorest schools receive, according to local school administrators.
Republican lawmakers counter it is more transparent and accurate.
The proposal requests that school districts’ poverty rates be calculated using U.S. census data. Currently, Washington school districts use free and reduced-price lunch percentages to report low-income schools and students to the state.
“I’m hoping it goes away,” said Linda McDermott, Spokane Public Schools’ chief financial officer, of the proposal. “But if it doesn’t, we’re going to have to really make sure we understand the financial implications for us.”
Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Shelley Redinger said that portion of the proposal would hurt students, a message she’s shared with lawmakers.
In 2015-16, 44 percent, or 477,828 Washington students, received free or reduced-price lunch. U.S. census data reported that 248,383, or 15.7 percent, of Washingtonians under 18 lived in poverty.
“I certainly have concerns about that proposal,” said Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane. “You don’t help kids out of poverty simply by changing a label. You actually have to invest in their success.”
We Need To Stand Up For Poor Students
We know that Republicans aren’t actually interested in fully funding education – they want to keep taxes low for the wealthy and their campaign donors, and they’re willing to cut critical support for children in poverty to make that happen. That’s a heartless proposal.
We need to help make sure that the legislature knows what a terrible idea it is to cut funding for poor students. Those students need more help, not less – hungry students need school breakfast and lunch, homeless students need housing support for their families, and students who’ve fallen behind at school need more help to catch up with their classmates. The simple fact is, Republicans would cut funding for all these kids.
Two things you can do to help – we can contact Spokane-area Republicans and remind them that the GOP proposal is wrong for students in their area!
Sen. Mike Padden 360-786-7606 [email protected]
Rep. Matt Shea 360-786-7984 [email protected]
Rep. Bob McCaslin 360-786-7820 [email protected]
Sen. Michael Baumgartner 360-786-7610 [email protected]
Rep. Mike Volz 360-786-7922 [email protected]
Rep. Jeff Holy 360-786-7962 [email protected]
And second, please share this story on your Facebook or Twitter page so that your friends and network can hear about this important issue. You can share a message along the lines of:
You’ve probably heard about how the legislature is working to fully fund education this year. I was shocked to read this news story about how the Republican proposal would actually redefine “poverty” to cut funding for needy kids. These students need more help, not less! The Republicans are taking us in the wrong direction!
Thanks for reading – you can reach us at [email protected] with your thoughts and feedback. If you value and appreciate this communication, let us know!
Let’s keep a spotlight on the legislature this year and we’ll stay in touch with you about how we can work together to fight back, beat the Republicans, and deliver wins for the people of Washington!
The WA Democrats Communications Team