The Latest: Schools chief boycotts Inslee speech

The Latest: Schools chief boycotts Inslee speech

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jan. 12, 2016 at 2:12 p.m.


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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The latest on Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's annual state of the state address (all times local):

State schools chief Randy Dorn is boycotting the governor's state of the state speech. The superintendent of public instruction says he's not happy with Gov. Jay Inslee's budget or legislative plans for education.

The state Supreme Court has given lawmakers until 2018 to fix the way the state pays for public schools. The most difficult challenge remaining is ending the state's overreliance on local school levies.

Dorn says the governor's budget proposal could force school districts to be even more dependent on local levies.

In his speech, Inslee spoke about progress by the Legislature on school funding. But Dorn believes lawmakers are not making enough progress. He says he will keep making a fuss and encouraging the Supreme Court to increase the sanctions against the Legislature until lawmakers finish their work.

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12:51 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee says he wants to use $180 million in an emergency funds account to help pay the costs of battling last year's huge wildfires in Washington state.

In his state of the state speech Tuesday, Inslee said more than 1 million acres were burned and more than 300 homes were destroyed. He also noted that three firefighters were killed. The men perished in August after their vehicle crashed and was engulfed in flames in the Methow River Valley. Tom Zbyszewski, 20, Andrew Zajac, 26, and Richard Wheeler, 31, were fighting the Okanogan Complex wildfire in August, which burned about 470 square miles.

Inslee says he also wants to use $29 million from the Disaster Response Account to help towns still recovering from last years' fires and to prepare for the upcoming fire season.

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12:45 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee wants to spend more money to address the state's beleaguered mental health system.

Inslee said in his state of the state address Tuesday that his budget proposal includes money for four new, 16-bed triage facilities and three new mobile crisis teams to help the mentally ill. He says more staffing is needed at the state's psychiatric hospitals, as well.

A federal judge issued a permanent injunction last year saying the state is violating the constitutional rights of its most vulnerable citizens by forcing them to wait in jails for weeks or months before receiving competency evaluations or treatment to restore their competency.

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12:38 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee is touting his plan to hire more teachers in his annual state of the state address.

Speaking Tuesday, Inslee told lawmakers that Washington needs to hire about 7,000 more teachers. Inslee says he would raise beginning teacher salaries from about $36,000 a year to $40,000 annually. He also wants to give a minimum 1 percent raise to all teachers and add more funding for a teacher mentoring program.

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