Legislators talk education, taxes and more at the ESD’s “Evening with Our Legislators”

Jaira Arcilla

Several state legislators spoke to Edmonds School District students, parents, staff and community members on Dec. 11, addressing issues in education, such as the McCleary decision and Core 24, and other state issues such as the tax structure and the environment.

In attendance at the forum were several of the legislators that represent areas served by the Edmonds School District. All Democrats, State Senator Marko Liias (District 21), State Representative-Elect Strom Peterson (District 21), State Representative Ruth Kagi (District 32), State Representative Derek Stanford (District 1) and Luis Moscoso (District 1) spent nearly 90 minutes discussing their views and answering questions from the community.

Several parents and teachers expressed frustration regarding additional educational requirements, such as Core 24, Smarter Balance Assessment, performance reviews for teachers and the No Child Left Behind laws. The legislators spoke in favor of reducing some requirements to make it easier for students and teachers to focus on education.

But the major issue discussed at the forum was the lack of funding for education. After the Washington Supreme Court decided to hold the legislature in contempt for failure to comply quickly enough with the court’s order to amply fund public education under the McCleary decision, the state legislator must come up with a way to fund public education. While several of the legislators said there could be some spending cuts, all agreed that new revenue would be necessary to fill the nearly $2 billion hole. Legislators argued it’s time for a state income tax to fill the gap in the budget.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. What do you think about the legislators’ positions? Comment below or email a letter to the editor to [email protected]