Top budget writers in the Senate have agreed that the state’s spending can be balanced without cutting education, despite the initial Republican-led budget plan, which would have cut some $43 million from K-12 education and $30 million from higher education.
Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, said he is pleased about the Senate Republicans offer of an alternative budget to avoiding large cuts to K-12 and higher education
“Unfortunately, this new offer only gets us half-way there. What’s still missing is a true commitment to our state’s children, not just inside the classroom, but also at home,” said Ranker. “I remain concerned that while this offer moves closer to our proposal, it still contains devastating cuts including elimination of the Disability Lifeline, the Housing and Essential Needs program and state food assistance, as well as a harmful cut to family planning services.
The reductions to the public safety net will adversely impact whether a student is able to enter a classroom ready to learn, added Ranker.
“I look forward to a public and transparent discussion of the latest Republican offer and to giving people the chance to weigh in on how it would impact their lives,” Ranker said. “It is my hope that we will now begin negotiations in good faith with Democrats and Republicans at the table together. We must develop a final budget that puts people first, especially children, seniors and the vulnerable.”