Only one item on Capitol Hill-area ballots has seen a change in fortunes since the first count on Election Night earlier this month. State voters appear to be on their way to approving I-1351, an initiative to reduce class sizes in Washington’s public schools.
While the tallies posted Monday afternoon show the vote nearly evenly split between Yes/No, the trend is a steadily improving result for the Yes camp — and election officials say that most of the ballots remaining to be counted are from counties where the initiative was performing well.
In King County, nearly 55% of voters were for the measure.
Backers of the initiative have declared victory. I-1351 would set maximum class sizes in kindergarten through third grade at 17 students in most classrooms. The limit would be set at 15 children in schools in low-income areas. Higher grades would have fewer than 25 students per class, or 22 in low-income schools. I-1351 is expected to require more than 25,000 new teachers and “non-teaching support staff” to implement — of course, not all of those hires are incremental to plans the state already had for lowering class sizes. The law could add a $4.7 billion burden on the state budget over the next four years, the Seattle Times worries, without calling for new taxes to pay for the plan.