Blog: The Educated Reporter

Election Results: Charter Schools Have Narrow Lead in Washington State, Missouri Says No To Tobacco Tax Hike for Education

There will be plenty of discussion in the coming days and weeks about what a second-term Obama administration will mean for education. But first I wanted to follow up on some statewide initiatives and ballot contests mentioned here earlier in the week:

  • A ballot measure to allow charter schools in Washington State held a narrow lead in what the Seattle Times said was one of closest races on the ballot. Washington is one of nine states that currently does not allow charter schools, which receive public funding but operate largely independently.  
  • In Missouri, it was a narrow defeat — 51 percent to 49 percent — for an initiative that would have raised the state’s tobacco tax along with significant funding for public education.  Instead of jumping to 90 cents per pack, the tax will stay at 17 cents, the lowest in the nation. The additional revenue is earmarked for K-12 (50 percent) higher education, including expanding the University of Missouri’s medical school (30 percent), and programs aimed at curbing tobacco use (20 percent). 
  • California Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial tax initiative survived Tuesday, with voters approving both an increase to the state’s sales tax and income taxes on the wealthy. If Proposition 30 had failed, education officials were bracing to cut upward of $500 million each from the state’s public colleges and universities.  
  • Alabama voters shot down Proposition 4, which would have removed antiquated language from the state’s Constitution that allowed schools to be segregated. The state’s teachers union had opposed the amendment on the grounds that it didn’t go far enough, and that “any eventual rewrite should also eliminate phrasing that denies Alabamians’ constitutional right to an education,” the Alabama Live news site reported. 
  • In Wake County, N.C., school board members Deborah Goldman and Andrew Malone had traded allegations of bizarre behavior, a possible affair, and accusations of theft amidst their campaigns for higher state office. Goldman lost her bid to be the state’s controller, while Malone was elected to the state House.

There was also some important news out of Maryland, with voters approving a version of the Dream Act. Children of undocumented immigrants will now have the chance to qualify for in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities. For more election roundups, I recommend Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog, and the Chronicle of Higher Education

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