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Washington School Superintendent Proposes Changes for State Schools

An additional segment of Doug Nadvornick's interview with Chris Reykdal that didn't air on the radio.

During the next two weeks, we’re going to hear plenty in the news about the progress or lack of that Washington’s legislative leaders are making in writing a new state budget. June 30 is the end of the state’s fiscal year. If there’s no budget, there’s no money and the government will have to cut back to the most basic services.

Most of the state budget goes to K-12 education. And you’ve probably heard reference to something called McCleary. That’s the name of the plaintiff in an education funding lawsuit that went to the state supreme court. We asked the state’s new school superintendent, Chris Reykdal, to tell us what he thinks parents and taxpayers think McCleary really means.

“I think there’s a big misconception," Reykdal said.

"I think the average parent says McCleary means they’re going to finally start fully funding our schools. That’s not actually what the court said. The court didn’t say there’s too much money or too little money. They said, legislature, you’ve written the definition of basic ed, but you’re not paying for it. You’re relying on local levies to pay for it. So the only mathematical thing you have to do here is get the state to pick up all the cost of the current basic ed definition.

"So this is why I’ve been so cautious for the last year in telling people you can solve a court case and not really see any meaningful change in your schools and I don’t think people are going to tolerate that. I think they expect the system to keep making strides. That’s why we want to lay out a vision for something much bigger than the court case.”

And Reykdal has done just that. He has put out a white paper with his vision for the state’s schools for at least the next six years.