Why Would a Superintendent Candidate Want to Cut School Funding?

Republican candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction Maia Espinoza campaigns on a platform of cutting public school funding

For Immediate Release | October 21, 2020

SEATTLE — As the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction heats up in the final weeks of the election, the Washington State Democratic Party asks – why Republican Maia Espinoza is running to be in charge of public schools, when her stated goal is to cut funding for public schools? 

Espinoza has made the right-wing Washington Policy Center’s proposal to cut public school funding by $2.5 billion a centerpiece of her campaign. The plan, which would cut public school funding by $2,500 for each of Washington’s approximately one million students, would amount to a 20 percent across-the-board cut of school funding, with no accountability for how the funds would be spent instead of on public education. 

Espinoza told the radio host Jason Rantz that she supports making even further cuts school funding and redirecting the money into vouchers instead, telling Rantz that the COVID-19 pandemic makes this the “perfect” time to make such cuts to public school funding. 

Currently Washington state public schools are already under major budget pressures due to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and cutting public school funding would only make it more difficult for schools to reopen and keep students, teachers, and their families safe. It was only in 2018, once Democrats reclaimed control of the state Senate and passed SB 6362, that the state was able to finally end the McCleary court case after years of underfunding public education. 

“Voters are ready to reject this wannabe-Betsy DeVos,” said Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party. “Cutting school funding at a time like this is heartless and wrong, and will only hurt students. Why would you run to be in charge of public schools when your main goal is to defund public schools?”