Washington School Class Sizes Act, Initiative 728 (2000)

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The Washington School Class Sizes Initiative, also known as Initiative Measure 728, was on the November 7, 2000 election ballot as an Initiative to the People in Washington, where it was approved. This initiative reduces class sizes, extends learning programs, expands teacher training, and constructs facilities, funded by lottery proceeds, property taxes, and budget reserves.

Election results

Washington Initiative 728 (2000)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,714,485 71.73%
No675,63528.27%

Election results via the Washington Secretary of State.[1]

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[2]

Shall school districts reduce class sizes, extend learning programs, expand teacher training, and construct facilities, funded by lottery proceeds, existing property taxes, and budget reserves?[3]

Support

Arguments in favor

These arguments in support appeared in the official State of Washington Voter Guide:[4]

The people of Washington State expect and deserve great public schools. A quality public education system is crucial to our state's economic prosperity and our children's future. Without raising taxes, I-728 lets schools reduce class sizes, expand learning opportunities, increase teacher training, invest in early childhood education, and build classrooms for K-12 and higher education.

WASHINGTON HAS THE 3rd WORST STUDENT/TEACHER RATIO IN THE NATION

Parents and teachers know that smaller classes increase student learning, decrease classroom disruption and make for more successful schools and students. I-728 gives local school districts the resources to lower class size by hiring more teachers and building more classrooms.

INCREASE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND SUPPORT NEW, HIGHER ACADEMIC STANDARDS

In 1993, Washington State established new, higher standards for academic achievement To make increased student achievement a reality, I-728 gives every school district the capacity to provide all students with more individualized instruction, more quality learning time, and modern schools.

LOCAL COMMUNITIES KNOW BEST: LOCAL CONTROL AND ACCOUNTABILITY

I-728 authorizes every school district to make the changes necessary to improve their schools' performance and their students' learning. Local school districts are accountable to their communities for using the new funds to increase student achievement.

We can afford to invest in our schools and our future with- out raising taxes or taking money away from other programs. I-728 is funded by lottery proceeds, surplus state revenues and by returning a portion of state property taxes to local school districts. I-728 was written by and is supported by parents, educators, and community leaders across the state. Together with the 297,000 citizens who signed I-728, we ask you to vote Yes on 1-728!

For more information, call 206.283.5549 or visit www.Yes0n728.com.

Rebuttal of Statement Against

Governor Locke responds, "I-728 is both necessary and fiscally sound. It invests surplus revenues in education without hurting the state budget" Having the nation's third largest class sizes is unacceptable. I-728 accomplishes what the Legislature hasn't: smaller classes and stable school funding. I-728 dedicates the lottery to school construction. I-728 does not raise taxes. I-728 maintains ample reserves and funding for other state services. Business, labor, education, and social service leaders support I-728. Vote Yes.[3]

Supporters

The following individuals signed the argument in support of Initiative 713 in the State of Washington's official voter guide:

  • Rita Creighton, President, Washington State PTA
  • Judy Janes, President, Washington School Directors Association
  • Gary Kipp, President, Association of Washington School Principals
  • Peter Ku, Chancellor, Seattle Community Colleges
  • Gary Livingston, President, Washington Association of School Administrators
  • Lee Ann Prielipp, President, Washington Education Association

Opposition

Arguments against

These arguments in opposition appeared in the official State of Washington Voter Guide:[5]

I-728 is extreme and unnecessary, and will cause harm to essential state services. I-728 takes a meat cleaver to the state budget, when careful reforms and prudent investments are what's needed to continue to improve Washington schools. I-728 would remove $1.7 billion from the state's general fund over the next six years. This will make it difficult to fund other critical responsibilities, including competitive salaries for teachers and state workers, services to children and the elderly, health care, environmental protection, higher education, and local criminal justice. The governor's budget office projects basic expenditure needs will exceed state revenues in the next biennium. I-728 takes a bad budget outlook and makes it much worse, requiring cuts in services or tax increases to meet basic needs. I-728 cuts urgently needed school construction funding by $4.0 billion over six years. I-728 destroys the voter-approved spending limit, I-601, which brought stability to the state budget and made possible meaningful tax relief. The will of the voters will be ignored, and we'll be back to the uncontrolled spending and tax increases of the past. There is no need for I-728. The state will spend $10.3 billion on K-12 education this biennium, an increase of 62 percent since 1993. This year the state allocated new money to schools for exactly the purposes proposed by I-728 - class size reduction, extended learning and teacher training -but in a fiscally responsible way. Vote No on I-728.

Rebuttal of Statement For

It's foolish to believe that pulling $2.0 billion out of the state's general fund over the next six years will not have an impact on teacher salaries, elderly services, higher education and other programs without raising taxes. A 1999 bipartisan audit found that increasing teacher salaries, experience and education all have a greater impact on student performance than lowering the pupil-teacher ratio. Providing the salary increases teachers need will be made harder by I-728.[3]

Opponents

The following individuals signed the argument in opposition of Initiative 713 in the State of Washington's official voter guide:

  • Tom Huff, State Representative
  • Brian Thomas, State Representative
  • Terry Mace, member, Washington Healthcare Association
  • Diane Symms, member, Independent Business Association
  • Dave Wood, People for Fair Taxes

Path to the ballot

Initiative 728 was filed on February 8, 2000 by Lisa D. Macfarlane of Seattle. 297,199 signatures were collected to qualify it for the ballot. The measure was placed on the ballot as provided for by the state constitution.[6]

See also

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External links

References