Fortunato’s not a friend of education; vote Rylands

In the coming days, friends of public education in District 31 have the opportunity to elect Michelle Rylands as their new state Senator. A look at last year’s voting record of current Sen. Phil Fortunato reminds us of the importance of this opportunity:

Although the majority of the Senate approved, Fortunato voted no on HB 1713 to advance the recommendations of the children’s mental health work group. Our children need these services in order to be successful on their academics, too.

Again out of step with the majority of the Senate, Fortunato noted no on SB 5449, requiring digital citizenship and internet safety education in schools. Aren’t these skills critical to student safety and success in today’s technology-integrated world?

In the final days of the session, Fortunato voted yes on EHB2242, enacting a new education funding plan resulting in less funding for some school districts than the previous state funding model and wide inequities between school districts. In our region, for example, lopsided differences in added salary funds and lost local funds will result in a projected addition of $43 per student in Federal Way SD but a loss of $967 per student in Dieringer. This sort of solution does not meet the needs of local schools.

Michelle Rylands, president of the Auburn Council of PTAs and a regional PTA leader, understands the needs of schools. Elect Rylands for a positive difference in the Senate.

– Vicki Bates

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