Committee holds public hearing on House Republican proposal to “Fund Education First”


The House Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee held a public hearing today on a House Republican proposal called Fund Education First.  The idea is to create a new, separate K-12 education budget that would be required to pass the Legislature before any other spending bills.  The measure, which has been introduced by House Republicans each biennium since 2006, also seeks to comply with a recent state Supreme Court decision by fully funding education.

Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, supports the measure and said the Legislature should pass the bill out of committee if it is serious about complying with the court’s decision.

“If the dire financial situation of our state has taught us anything it’s taught us that we need to get back to setting priorities,” Schmick said.  “For a long time a lot of people have been saying that education is their top priority.  Well, we now have an opportunity to put our money where our mouth is, literally.  I know for me and my colleagues, funding education first is much more than a slogan: it is one of our top three priorities, and we need to treat it as such.”

The proposal, House Bill 2533, currently has bipartisan support.  If implemented, it would:

* require K-12 education funding be made in separate legislation from the operating budget;

* require all funding for K-12 education be enacted into law before either chamber of the Legislature takes executive action on other budget legislation; and

* take effect immediately and would apply to the supplemental budget currently being negotiated.

Schmick likened the idea of a separate education budget to the Legislature’s current practice of having separate transportation and capital budgets.

“The precedent has been set and the process is in place, now we just have to gather the political courage to do what’s right for Washington’s parents, students and teachers,” Schmick said.  “Placing education at the front of the line when it comes to the budget process will help ensure that education receives our state’s first dollar, not the last.”


For more information, contact Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7698


Washington State House Republican Communications