1.24.17

Suggested lead:  Washington school districts will get some budgetary breathing room if a House bill OK'd in Olympia Monday makes it through the Republican-controlled Senate.  Dan Frizzell has that story.

Wrap (:67 total): Lawmakers in the state House of Representatives took a big step Monday to reassure worried school districts that they’d be fully funded next year regardless of what happens in Olympia this session.  The so-called “levy cliff” bill was OK’d by a dozen Republicans and all 50 Democrats in the House, including first year Representative Mike Chapman of Port Angeles.

CHAPMAN: “This was a vote that school districts needed the Legislature to take right now, as they’re preparing next year’s budgets.  Without this vote, school districts would have been forced to prepare two budgets, one with levy dollars and one without levy dollars. That’s an incredible amount of hard work for school districts to have to go to, and potentially, they would have begun to issue pink slips to new teachers, causing new teachers to be very worried for their job and maybe begin to look for other employment next year.” [:25]

Chapman described the levy cliff vote as an insurance policy that will never have to be used.  It allows districts to continue collecting voter-approved levy revenue for another year if necessary, but Chapman and other House leaders are confident the Legislature will finally approve a plan this session to relieve local taxpayers of that burden.  In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.