Education funds on the line to balance Wash budget



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Posted on December 10, 2010 at 9:12 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 10 at 9:21 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Last summer a bill to save teaching jobs was passed by creating more federal funding for education. Saturday, lawmakers are expected to take that money to try to help balance the Washington state's budget.

In Ms. Street's journalism class students are cranking out the next edition of Capital High School's "Outlook" newspaper, but this could be one of the final editions due to budget cuts.

Ms. Street is worried electives like journalism might be cut. And even though she has been teaching for eight years she knows her position altogether could be eliminated.

“Nobody feels safe," said Street.

Lawmakers have targeted federal dollars, meant to preserve teaching jobs, and state money that had been set aside to keep kindergarten through fourth grade classes smaller.

State Senator Ed Murray said cutting education funding is the most regressive thing lawmakers can do, yet he plans on voting for the cuts.

"We have an obligation to balance this budget. The voters said no to the taxes we raised, so education becomes the biggest item we can cut," said Murray.

"I was a little worried..." Ms. Street is concerned about her job, but she says when education funding is cut students have the most to lose. "I'm just really always concerned about what that means for student learning."

We asked if the state can take federal dollars meant for education and use it to balance the budget. The Governor's Budget Director said, “Yes.”

That money will be placed in the school's account and then cut out.

The special session starts Saturday at nine a.m. in Olympia.