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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Inslee 'Undaunted' After Dust-Up Over Bipartisan School Funding Plan

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he is 'undaunted' by a partisan dust-up over school funding that could threaten months of bipartisan negotiations.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said he’s “undaunted” after a partisan dust up over school funding. The Democrat Thursday sounded a hopeful note that lawmakers will find common ground.

The dust up came after Senate Republicans made changes to a bipartisan proposal that came out of a series of meetings last fall. Those changes included removing a promise to “eliminate school district dependency on local levies” next year.

Inslee said he remains firm that 2017 is the deadline for the legislature to act to fully fund schools.

“But I also understand that this is a heavy lift for legislators and the fact that through this amendment process there’s further discussion, I’m undaunted, I’m going to remain optimistic and I hope they’ll fulfill their duty,” the governor said.

Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee Chair Steve Litzow said addressing the over reliance on local school levies is “highly complicated,” but he expects an agreement to emerge.

The state is under Supreme Court sanction for failing to come up with a plan to achieve full funding.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."