With two weeks left in the regular legislative session, the House and the Senate have released their 2015-2017 budget proposals. Both chambers address the Supreme Court's McCleary decision -- the state's funding obligation for education -- and allot comparable education funding amounts. The House provides $1.4 billion, the Senate $1.3 billion.
The two proposals differ on funding for state employee salaries and teacher cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). The House proposal fully funds the collective bargaining agreements negotiated by Gov. Jay Inslee and funds teacher COLAs above what's required by Initiative 732. The Senate proposal rejects the governor-negotiated collective bargaining agreements and provides $149 million less than the House for increases in state employee compensation.
Both budgets bring changes to Initiative 1351, the class size measure approved last fall. The Senate is sending the initiative back to the people for a vote in November.