submitted by Communications Chair Ron Carter
Senator Rolfes Visits Kingston Rotary

23rd District State Senator Christine Rolfes was the featured speaker at our first meeting in October.  Her topic was the recent Legislature’s efforts to bring K-12 school funding in line with requirements of the State Supreme Court in it’s McCleary decision. In that January 2012 decision, the Court ruled the State Legislature failed to fulfill its paramount duty to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. 

Senator Rolfes told Rotarians that half of the latest budget, passed June 30, goes to public school funding. These funds are allocated to the 295 districts in the state, districts as small as the six-student Stehekin District to as large as the Seattle District, with it’s 54,000 students.  The result is the state provides more maintenance and operations money for each student in each district, and limits the amount districts can raise through school levies.  The net impact in North Kitsap District will be an increase of thirteen-million dollars, almost ten-thousand dollars more per teacher.  Most of the funding will be for teacher salaries.  To fund the increases, the Legislature will increase property taxes across the state by seven-billion dollars. 

At the conclusion Senator Rolfes answered questions, the biggest of which is whether the Legislature will be found in compliance when the State Supreme Court revisits the matter later this month.