As posted by reporter Brad Shannon of The Olympian and in this excerpt from The
News Tribune in Tacoma, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn, has said it will take over $4 billion more to fully fund basic education in Washington State. Given the current soft economy and a projected state budget shortfall of $1 billion, some are calling this a “bit of a bombshell” given the budget challenges that legislators will face in January.
Dorn’s figure appears to go well beyond the scale of what has been embraced by Gregoire and the candidates so far. Gregoire’s budget office has put out a four-year outlook that appears to call for about $865 million in new spending to cover carry-forward costs, including funds to reverse one-time cuts to salaries and one-time reductions in allocations to schools for buses, bonuses for National Board-certified teachers, and also cost-of-living raises of 2.1 percent and 2.0 percent in each of the next two years.