Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center points out that despite efforts of some lawmakers to return money to taxpayers, Democrats in the legislature have kept the extra tax burden in place
Washington Policy Center
Recently The Center Square reported Washington state public schools now get $18,175 per student in funding on average statewide. Seattle gets $22,000 per student. State records show that in total school districts take about $2 billion extra in property taxes.
To fix this problem Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-Centralia) introduced HB 1898 early this year. The bill was written to cut the extra tax and return the money to working families, small business owners and other taxpayers. In March, Democrats in the legislature killed the bill, so even as weekly inflation rises the extra tax burden remains in place.
Even with all the extra money, school administrators are not fulfilling their responsibility to educate students. State officials reported in November 2021 that schools failed to teach 70% of students adequately in math, and failed to teach 52% of students adequately in reading.
In Seattle, which gets the most money, the learning situation is worse. Administrators there failed to teach 89% of black students adequately in math, and failed to teach 74% adequately in English.
A truly caring legislature would have passed HB 1633, a bill sponsored by Rep. James Walsh (R-Longview) to provide families with up to $10,000 to access private tutors and other resources to help children catch up in school. Instead, Rep. Sharon Tomiko-Santos (D-Seattle) blocked the bill in committee, where it died on March 10th.
Washington state provided no property tax relief at all to families during two years of economic shut down, emergency orders and other restrictions, and school officials continue to take $2 billion in extra property taxes. This uncaring attitude towards families makes the burden of educating their children that much harder. No wonder cutting taxes is so popular, and that over 41,000 families have left the public system to find educational alternatives.
Note: Some of my readers have asked for the school spending data for their area. The official source is at : http://fiscal.wa.gov/K12.aspx . Spending numbers per student appear in the lower right-hand corner of the Workload, Staffing and Finance chart for each district.
Liv Finne is the director of the Center for Education at the Washington Policy Center.