Washington Class Size Proposal Turns In Signatures

SEATTLE (AP) -- Sponsors of an initiative to decrease Washington public school class sizes have turned in more than 325,000 signatures to the Washington secretary of state's office. They expect they have plenty of signatures to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.

Campaign manager Mary Howes says the volume of signatures shows voters feel large classes are unacceptable.

Initiative 1351 would phase in class size reductions for every grade, prioritizing the younger grades and low-income schools. Sponsors say Washington has some of the largest average class sizes in the nation.

Smaller classes would cost the state billions of dollars in teacher salaries and school construction. The initiative does not include a plan for obtaining these extra dollars.

The Legislature already has committed to decreasing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. That plan is part of the required education reform mentioned in the Washington Supreme Court's McCleary decision on school funding.