State Representative Mike Steele of Chelan has been picked to serve as the ranking member on the House Education Committee.
“I’m excited to tackle this new leadership role on the Education Committee. In 2018, we made sweeping changes to funding for K-12 staff salaries. However, the new funding model—designed to lower school districts’ reliance on local property taxes to pay teacher and staff salaries—may need to be re-examined and, if necessary, adjusted,” said Steele, R-Chelan. “For some school districts, the dollars are not stretching far enough. We need to dig into the numbers and find out why.”
Steele said the committee has a lot of work to do in the session, which starts January 14th, as some districts, including Wenatchee, face budget deficits related to a new school funding formula implemented by the Legislature last year.
Steele also was selected as assistant ranking member on the House Capital Budget Committee. Steele, a Republican, said with growing state revenues the Legislature needs resist “taking more dollars away from taxpayers.”
“I’m really happy to get this appointment. In next biennium, we’ll be facing significant budget challenges. Fortunately, our healthy state economy has produced large revenue increases. Instead of spending it all, or even asking for more, we need to focus on delivering programs efficiently and cost-effectively. That means living within our means—not taking more dollars away from taxpayers.”