Initiative propose better education

By Jasmine Ari Kemp, News Editor

Initiative Measure 1351, if voted into law, will reduce class sizes for grades K-12 over a four-year period. As of now, the average class size for the fourth grade is 27 students. If reduced, the class size would be 25 students.

The initiative would also add another distinction that reduces class sizes: poverty. A school is considered high poverty if 50 percent of the student body is eligible for free or reduced meals in the prior school year. These schools would see class sizes further reduced. Instead of a 27-student class, the class would be 22 students.

In addition to reducing class sizes, the measure would provide funding for support staff like librarians, guidance counseling, school nurses and teaching assistants. More funding would let schools hire more people for these respective positions to a designated ratio.

Overall, Initiative 1351 is a check on a Washington state Supreme Court case, McCleary v. the state of Washington. The court found that the Washington legislature has a duty to make an effort to provide funding for general education.

While establishing that duty, the initiative also provides benchmarks. The legislature would have to provide reports on funding and make them public. The reports would also have to be submitted to the supreme court, that way the public and the court can see if the legislature is properly making an effort to allocate funds for K-12 education.