One of the most significant items on the “left to do” list from the Governor’s Washington Learns initiative was the formation of a high-level task force to review the financing of the state’s K-12 education system and to make recommendations for reform. During the 2007 session, the legislature created a new state Task Force on Basic Education Funding as a response to this bit of unfinished business from Washington Learns.
The 14-member panel will be led by former State Treasurer and House of Representatives member Dan Grimm. Grimm is extremely well-known in Olympia circles, having served as the chair of the House Ways and Means committee during the mid to late 80’s. In fact, Grimm wielded so much power as chair of that committee, that when he stepped down in 1988 to make a successful run for State Treasurer, then Speaker of the House Joe King divided Ways and Means into three separate committees (Appropriations, Finance and Capital) where it has remained to this day.
Joining Grimm on the task force will be Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson, Cheryl Chow, chairwoman of the Seattle School Board, Bette Hyde, superintendent of the Bremerton School District, Jim Kowalkowski, superintendent of the Davenport School District and executive director of the Rural Education Center at Washington State University, and Laurie Dolan, the Governor’s executive policy director and a former educator from Spokane.
Legislators from both chambers and both parties will be added to the task force in the coming weeks. The final report is due in early 2009.