September 29, 2014
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Costs of I-1351 push lawmakers from both parties to oppose this expensive class-size initiative

The Seattle Times notes that Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle convinced fellow Democrats in one of the state's most progressive districts not to support Initiative 1351. This mandate for smaller fourth- through twelfth-grade class sizes does not identify how to pay for the billions of dollars in salaries and school expansion needed to meet the requirements. I-1351 is "a multi-billion-dollar budget-buster," The Seattle Times writes.

At a time when the State Board of Education has issued a rare statement saying that the state doesn't have the money to meet just the McCleary decision, AWB has decided to oppose I-1351.

“Initiative 1351carries a huge price tag with little assurance that it will do anything to improve education,” said AWB President Kris Johnson. “It would increase spending on K-12 education by $4.7 billion through 2019, over and above the cost of complying with the Washington Supreme Court’s mandate to fully fund basic education. Because the initiative contains no dedicated funding source, it would require lawmakers to either cut other programs or raise taxes in order to pay for it. Furthermore, it’s not clear that reducing class size automatically leads to better outcomes. We need to be smart about how we invest in education. I-1351 is a poor investment.”

At Policy Summit last week, Gov. Jay Inslee expressed concerns (TVW video) about the costs of paying for the class-size initiative.

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