Upcoming meeting will discuss public education funding

The League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County is hosting an upcoming meeting that will discuss various elements of funding K-12 education in Washington state.

The event takes places from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 17, in the downstairs meeting room of the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. Coffee and treats will be provided.

Speakers include Assistant Superintendent Dan Newell of the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Greg Alarid, a unified service representative of the Washington Education Association.

“The League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County agrees with the Washington Supreme Court ruling that the state isn’t meeting its constitutional obligation to amply pay for basic public education,” sais Jayne Freudenberger, the League’s co-president, in a press release. “We have long held an interest in quality K-12 education, and have several positions with regards to funding.”

The League’s education funding positions include:

– The state has the responsibility for amply funding education and social services needed to ensure that every child is ready to learn and safe in his or her educational environment, regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or disability. Closer links between schools and social services should be forged.

– All programs mandated by the legislature should be fully funded by the state.

– Maintenance and operation costs of local school districts should be fully funded by the state. The state should also contribute to the costs of in-service training.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about how our schools are funded,” said league member and meeting organizer Michael Jay. “Also, the implications of the state Supreme Court ruling requiring full funding for K-12 Education are misunderstood. Not only do we want folks to be informed, we want discussions about funding policy to have a foundation in fact and not rumor or incorrect assumptions.”

Founded in 1920, the League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization with 800 affiliates across the country. It encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership is open to men and women of all ages.

For information about the League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County, visit www.lwvbellinghamwhatcom.org.

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