Volz speaks in favor of McCleary progress, against kicking the can down the road

Rep. Mike Volz speaks against a bill that would delay progress on McCleary.Rep. Mike Volz, R-Spokane, spoke today on the House floor against a bill that would extend the upcoming “levy cliff,” which refers to budget shortfalls school districts say they will face if current levy policy isn't extended for another year.

House Bill 1059 would delay changes to the levy lid until calendar year 2019. Currently, most of Washington's 295 school districts can collect as much as 28 percent of their levy base. That levy lid is projected to decrease to 24 percent, unless the bill is enacted into law this year. There are additional corresponding reductions to Local Effort Assistance.

Some school districts have said they need certainty to plan budgets for the 2017-18 school year.

Volz says he's no stranger to the struggles school districts face, as his wife is a middle school teacher in Spokane public schools and two of his three children graduated from public schools, with one still attending. Additionally, his parents were teachers in Washington's public schools and his father represented public school employees.

“I think that we need to roll up our sleeves and do the work of the people and get a long-term solution for McCleary resolved this session,” said Volz. “Rushing it through so early sends a poor message to the districts, to the teachers, to our community and most importantly, adds uncertainty in the lives of our children.”

You can listen to Volz's full remarks here.

In 2012, the state Supreme Court ruled the state was failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to fully fund public education in a case referred to as McCleary. While the Legislature has made significant progress in solving McCleary, it has yet to address the state's reliance on local levies to pay for components of basic education.

Volz added that any extension to the “levy cliff” should be part of a comprehensive plan to address McCleary, not serve as a stand-alone solution to the state's unconstitutional reliance on local levies.

House Bill 1059 passed the House on a 62-35 vote.

The 2017 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 23.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov