Gov. Gregoire proposes funding sources for K-12, higher education - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gov. Gregoire proposes funding sources for K-12, higher education

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire today urged legislators to consider two proposals to provide funding to the state's K-12 and higher education systems.

"I will not walk away from our longstanding commitment to K-12 or higher education," Gregoire said. "Education is the lifeblood of this state's economy and the path to a better future for our children."

Gregoire is asking state legislators to temporarily lift the levy lid for the K-12 education system, freeing up $68 million a year for local school districts.

"This is money voters have already approved, but can't be collected because it exceeds the levy limit," Gregoire said. "Allowing districts to access the funding their voters have already authorized will help many districts to keep programs intact."

Gregoire said the approved funds would offset difficult cuts to education programs during these challenging times. She added that 75 school districts across the state would benefit from temporarily lifting the levy lid.

Gregoire also proposes to give governing boards the authority to approve a maximum 14 percent tuition increase for the public four-year universities and a maximum 7 percent increase for the community and technical colleges.

"This is not the time to falter on this state's long commitment to a world-class system of public higher education," Gregoire said. "The recession will end. In the meantime, we can't inflict damage on our universities and colleges. It takes years to assemble talented professors, build programs and offer excellent education. We simply can't afford - especially now - to deny thousands of students access to higher education. And we can't afford to lay off thousands of faculty and staff and lose programs vital to our state's future."

Gregoire acknowledged that students and families will have to sacrifice, but added President Obama and Congress have significantly increased financial aid, which will offset the effects of higher tuition.

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