Earlier today, Chris K. flagged the bad news for Metro: Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed the portion of a local funding bill that authorized King County to send a car tab tax to voters, worth about $25 million, for bus service.
Gregoire vetoed a section of another bill today, as well: She vetoed the section of education reform bill that included "early learning" as a part of basic education.
Gregoire spokeswoman Laura Lockard explains that the governor thought, "the definition of early learning was too narrow because it was only for 'children at risk' and it should be for all children."
I've got a call in to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-47), to get his reaction.
Meanwhile, Paola Maranan, executive director of the Childrens Alliance said:
“We’re deeply disappointed that Governor Chris Gregoire vetoed the early learning section of the basic education bil. The Children’s Alliance is supportive of efforts to improve the K-12 system, and we know we will never realize the kind of achievement we hope for from our K-12 students if we fail to address the fact that low-income children and children of color are routinely denied the opportunity to enter kindergarten prepared to succeed. Legislators recognized the importance of helping kids who need it most get the opportunity to enter school ready to succeed. This was an opportunity lost.”
The Children's Alliance was one member of the active coalition of PTAers, the League of Education Voters, and the state superintendent's office that lobbied hard for the bill. Members of the coalition were "caught off guard" by the Governor's partial veto.
And, UPDATE, here's a formal statement from Rep. Sullivan:
“While I am pleased with the sections of the education reform bill that were signed into law today, I cannot express enough how disappointed I am in the veto of the early learning section. We have let down children most at risk who need and deserve every opportunity to be successful in life.”