Legislature takes first steps toward House Republican proposal to ‘Fund Education First’

Legislation would comply with recent court decision by establishing a separate education budget that would be the first budget passed by the Legislature each year


The House Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee held a public hearing today on a proposal to create a new, separate K-12 education budget that would comply with a recent state Supreme Court decision by fully funding education first.

Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, cosponsored the bill and said it was a long time in coming.

“The idea that education should get the first state dollar and not the last is something I’ve advocated for since my arrival in the Legislature,” said Haler.  “If educating our children is indeed the state’s paramount duty – and I believe it is and so does the state Supreme Court – we can’t continue down the same budgetary path.  Something must change.  I believe that establishing a separate K-12 education budget and funding that budget first is the best way to ensure we’re complying with the court’s decision and with the desire of parents, students and teachers across the state who want to see our children succeed.”

The proposal, House Bill 2533, 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.

Haler said the precedent for a separate budget has already been set with the state’s transportation and capital, or construction, budgets.

“The process to implement a K-12 education budget is pretty much in place,” Haler said.  “We do it for transportation and the capital budget.  We should do it for the state’s number one priority.

“At the end of the day, I and my House Republican colleagues believe that education is the great equalizer,” said Haler.  “It is the answer to lifting our people out of poverty and helping ensure they have the ability and opportunity to pursue their goals and dreams.”

While House Republicans have introduced legislation in each biennium since 2006 to fund education first, today was the first public hearing any of the proposals have ever received.


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


Washington State House Republican Communications