Toddlers, parents lobby Inslee for more pre-K funding

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Tappan Osborn-Hinman might be the youngest lobbyist in Olympia.

The 16-month-old and his mother Casey visited with Governor Jay Inslee, D-Washington, at Inslee’s office Monday.

The Osborn-Hinmans and more than a dozen other parents and children urged Inslee to come up with more funding for preschoolers in the next legislative year.

They’re hoping lawmakers fund pre-school expansion and subsidized child care.

“The good news is we have $90 million in the budget… to increase early childhood education,” said Inslee.

New funding requests for schools and potential budget cuts are expected to dominate the next legislative session, which starts in January.

Inslee is expected to release a budget proposal in mid-December to come up with a way to make up for a $500 million budget deficit.

The state is also facing a $100,000-a-day fine until lawmakers come up with a way to fully fund education.

This summer the Supreme Court enacted the fine, saying lawmakers were not meeting the state’s “paramount” duty to educate the children of the state.

The mothers at Monday’s meeting with Inslee said lawmakers don’t only think of K-12 students when discussing funding education.

“I think folks across the education spectrum know we see a huge return on our investment when we reach kids early,” said Casey Osborn-Hinman.