The Washington State senate just passed a two-year budget that includes an additional billion dollars for K-12 schools! Yay! Except it's not really a billion dollars. The expenditure changes above the 2013-2015 maintenance level budget (the amount of money needed to maintain 2011-2013 services at constant levels) is actually $944 million, which under no math I'm familiar with is routinely rounded up to $1 billion.

But even that's deceptive. For the budget also lists another $295 million in policy compensation changes—mostly the money saved by once again suspending cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for teachers. The actual "Total Policy Changes" as listed on the legislature's own budget document (pdf) is $648,594,000. That's how much more money we're really putting into our K-12 schools: $648.6 million. (Unless, of course, you don't consider teacher pay to be a legitimate cost of operating public schools.) A legislative committee had determined that at least $1.5 billion in additional spending was needed to satisfy a court ordered downpayment on the McCleary decision.

FYI, teachers will now go six years without a COLA raise, leaving them 16 percent behind inflation. Because education reform!