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Cheney Free Press
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February 12, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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February 12, 2015
 

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Page 10 Free Press Thursday, February 12, 2015 By JOHN McCALLUM Anderson, who owns the Editor Cheney Holiday Inn Express The rumors are true -- Mim with husband Brian, said she is back! even directed people staying To individuals existing out- at the hotel to Ben Franklin side the world of quilting and when they asked about places other fabric endeavors that sen- to shop in Cheney. Its closure tence likely means nothing. To was one of the reasons she and those who love to turn yards of her daughter Aly decided to colorful clothinto a multitude of open Against the Grain, and fun and useful items, ifsacause the duo have been lobbied by c616br , one worthy of trumpet- patrons to begin carrying fabric ing around the region, supplies and other needed ac- Long-time Ben Franklin coutrements. fabric guru Mim Shamblin "Everyone keeps coming in has agreed to help Against the and saying we should be carry- Grain owners Debbie Ander- ing (fabric)," Anderson said. sonand Aly Avey in their latest Anderson said she first tried offering at Cheney's antique persuading others to open up a store - a fabric center. The fabric center but got no takers. "Sowing Loft" (yes, sowing) Even Shamblin, who worked is scheduled to open March at Ben Franklin for 31 years 7 as part of grand re-opening before it closed, said she was ceremonies planned for the approached about the pos- business in celebration of their sibilities of opening a center two-year anniversary, herself. The idea for a fabric center "Not unless I win the lot- to replace the one that closed tery," Shamblin said was her when Ben Franklin shut its response. doors in 2012 began floating It's not an idle response around the community sooneither as the investment alone after the closure. The variety in product can be price prohibi- store was popular not only in tive to any would be fabric en- Cheney but also regionally, trepreneur. When BenFranklin with people coming from plac- began its liquidation process in es like Ritzville and Spokane September 2012, Shamblin said Valley to shop for fabric and she had over $350,000 in fabric other arts and crafts, on hand. Photo by John McCallum Left to right: Aly Avey, Mim Shamblin and Debbie Anderson stand in the Against the Grain upper level area that is home to a new fabric center, The Sowing Loft. "I had built it up over the Anderson said they would years," she said. "It wasn't carry bolts of cotton fabric, something that happened, seeking out only good quality 'Boom!" overnight." material. For the uninformed, Despite the limited space at a bolt is 15 feet of fabric. Against the Grain, both Avey The Sowing Loft will be and Anderson said they felt the located just like it sounds, community's desire to have a upstairs in a narrow portion quality fabric resource closer at of Against the Grain that An- hand than a trip to Spokane's derson said was difficult to North Side or to Spokane Val- display other product. If the ley, the closet locations for shelving is properly arranged, fabric outlets, she estimates they could carry around 400 bolts of fabric, but will start with less for now. "We'll probably start with 200, see what the community wants," she said. There will also be "retro fabric" along with "jelly tolls" and "charm packs," kits of pre- cut fabric sewers can combine with nice cloth borders to make things like quilts for infants. The Sowing Loft will carry "no- tions" such as needles, thread, cutter blades and other neces- sary items for quilting, and Avey said they will also carry swatches of Annie Sloan d4cor fabric, a high-end, all-Euro- pean fabric. "You can get it in pretty quickly," Anderson added. Anderson said they have re- moved product in their "kitch- en" area and will transform it into a fabric design center, with Shamblin serving part time as a "fabric coach." "It's going to be fun work- ing with the community again," Shamblin said. Against the Grain's grand re-opening will be from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 7. There will be refreshments, a light snack and a free gift given with each purchase. John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com. Voters' demand: Lower class sizes; school districts' dilemma: Paying for it Part 2 of a 3-part series prepared by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association By ALICE DAY Reporter, WNPA Olympia News Bureau OLYMPIA-- School districts around Wash- ington are priming their fiscal pumps in the com- ing weeks, asking local constituents to support special maintenance and operations taX proposi- tions to maintain current programs, as well as bond measures to sup- port facilities develop- ment and transportation needs. Meanwhile, at the state Capitol, lawmakers have yet to come to grips in the early days of the 2015 legislative session with education financing plans to meet the state Supreme Court's mandate that they must fully fund basic edu- cation as defined in the state constitution. Legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee agree that edu- cation is and should be the dominant issue before them this session. They do not agree, however, on a means and method to re- solve the di]enuna: finding the dollars to avoid the Su- preme Court's dutr_hes un- der a contempt order, the result of the Legislature's failure to meet the terms the court has set for basic education funding. Local school districts are holding levy and bond elections in February so they are able to maintain current operating levels while the Legislature con- tinues to struggle with its role and responsibility to support basic-education programs. Added to the education funding challenge is the voter-approved Class Size Reduction Measure - Ini- tiative 1351 - passed in November 2014. That mea- sure requires the state to lower class sizes in grades K-12, and adds additional teachers and support staff in order to do so. The Office of Financial Management estimates implementing 1-1351 could cost the state $4.7 billion through fiscal year 2019 and an additional $1.9 bil- lion each year thereafter. The initiative did not include a funding source and has a four-year phase- in, with 50 percent imple- mentation in the 2015- 2017 biennium and 100 percent implementation in 2018-2019. Local school districts, however, would have an additional fiscal chal- lenge to meet the 1-1351 mandate. Statewide they would need to fund $1.3 billion with local levy dollars through school year 2018-2019 to imple- ment this initiative due to the difference between what the state allocates for teachers" pay and what local school districts actu- ally pay their teachers. Why has the education funding issue emerged to haunt state legislators? In the 2012 McCleary case, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state was in violation of the constitution because of its reliance on local lev- ies and federal funds to fund basic education, rather than direct state- financing programs. The court reaffirmed that it was the Legislature's responsibility to define what basic education would look like in terms of dollar amounts and programs, but concluded legislators had not done that job. In the 2009-11 bien- nium, two pieces of leg- islation, ESHB 2261 and SHB 2776, were enacted to expand the definition of basic education and re- structure the K-12 funding formulas inresponse to the McCleary court case that was filed in 2007. ESHB 2261 created a new K-12 funding model called the "Prototypical School ModeL" which al- locates a ratio of teachers and support staff based on the number of stu- dents in the school. It also expanded the definition of basic education, which must be fully funded by the state. SHB 2776 took the funding formula created in ESHB 2261 and made it law. It also established a timeline for reducing class sizes and phasing in the expanded definition of education based on the funding formula estab- lished by the Prototypical School Model. "We defined what basic education should look like, but we haven't put the money into sustaining that system," said Rep. L'fllian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukflteo, vice chair of the House Educa- tion Committee. "That's where we lost our [Mc- Cleary] case." Inslee's proposed bud- 'get for the 2015-2017 bi- eunium includes a $3.6 billion education package, of which $1.3 billion is dedicated to lowering class sizes in grades K -3, an over- lap between the initiative and the state's McCleary obligation, which man- dates class-size reductions in the lower grades. IqLL W eh l-,J Dinner Special, Pizza, Beer & 2 Drinks & DessertBrownies Monday- Saturday 11am - 2 am @ 821 1st St., cbeney untll9pm Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self And though his pro- posal is championed as the largest increase in basic-ed- ucation handing in nearly a quarter century, it still falls short of the $4.7 billion needed to fund 1-1351. "They're not funding (Initiative) 1351," said Ran- dy Dorn, state superinten- dent of public instruction, referring to Inslee's budget proposal. "The governor made no attempt to fix it or give us a plan on how he's going to get to fully fund education." Dorn says some kind of levy transfer in which school-district levies are reduced and the same amount is captured by the state property tax might be part of the solution. "I believe in the end you have to look at some kind of levy exchange to pay for it," Dorn said. "I don't think you will have enough money to pay for all of 1-1351, but you can do all day K (kindergarten), K-3 class-size reduction, and then you have to do something about the 25 to I ratio in middle school and high schools." House Appropriation Committee Chairman Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, in the past has also pro- posed a revenue-neutral Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn levy swap, Where the state takes a greater share of local school tax levies, as a means to fund the Su- preme Court's mandate. Taxpayers would pay the same amount in taxes but to the state instead of the local districts. However, this time around, he says a levy swap, where you change out local money for state money, is not effective because it doesn't add any new revenue. "It makes people crazy because its just moving a lot of money around and everyone is nervous about doing that even though the overall tax burden to the state stays about the same," Hunter said. A major area of con- cern raised by 1-1351 hing- es on the state's funding of teacher salaries: The initiative falls short in adequately funding teach- ers' salaries because the state does not provide ad- equate funding for school districts, Hunter said. "The teachers are actu- ally getting paid enough because the local school districts make it up," Hunter said. "They raise money with local prop- erty tax [special levies] and pay theextra cost of hiring teachers." In the McCleary deci- sion the court ruled that the state di4 not provi ie adequate teacher sala- ries and needed to bring salaries to the market rate that districts are paying to actually hire a teacher, Hunter added. "The state gives the schools a certain allocation for basic education to fund teachers' salaries, but the amount is not sufficient to attract teachers in the field, or enough to be able to meet their basic needs," -Self said. Alice Day is a student reporter for the Washing- ton Newspaper Publisher's Association's Olympia News Bureau. She is senior at the University of Washington pursing degrees in journalism and political science. The WNPA staffs its Olympia bureau with two UW journalism majors dur- ing each legislative session. 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