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June 17, 2019

5/1/2019 12:37:00 PM
Funding our certain future
One day an earthquake off the coast will trigger a huge tsunami that will reach into La Conner. Sometime in the next thousand years Mt. Baker will blow its top, sending a flow of lava perhaps 70 feet thick into the Skagit River, where it will makes its way to the sea. 
Someday, absolutely, those disasters will devastate us. Just as certainly, the effects of climate change on our environment dramatically change our lives. Do you feel adequately prepared? Are our community and state preparing?
Equally close to home, in this, the best of all possible towns in the best of all possible states, in the best of all possible countries, our schools are starting to gain adequate funding from the state government, fulfilling the mandate – not a promise, but another certainty – chiseled into the state’s constitution:
“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.
“The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools.”
The 2019 state legislature backed those words with dollars, providing $3.9 billion for K-12 school-funding. That is almost 7.5 percent of the $52.4 billion dollar two year budget. Hundreds of millions of additional dollars were allocated for special education, early childhood education and college education.
Now, with the legislative session in Olympia over, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Democrats in the state legislature will be challenged and derided for the laws they have passed, the funds they have appropriated and, yes, the taxes they have raised in following through on their commitment to do what the state’s constitution – and its supreme court – requires it to do: “make ample provision for the education of all children.”
This commitment to our children is both an investment in ourselves and in our future. The legislature reached into the future with new taxes to fuel higher education programs geared toward computers and technology in this high technology state.
Kids grow up, they graduate, they attend college. The legislature has looked into their – our state’s – future and made provisions to make college more affordable, thus available, to more people.
We – society, our state – will certainly need more people well educated to handle the uncertainties we are facing now and into the very foreseeable future.

Related Links:
• Ken Stern

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