House panel passes bill to split Seattle school district

OLYMPIA (AP) — A bill that would split Seattle Public Schools into two smaller districts has passed the state House Education Committee.

The proposal by two Seattle lawmakers was approved Thursday on a 16-5 vote and now moves on to the full House for consideration.

The idea was rejected by every speaker at a public hearing on the measure, including representatives of the school district, the PTA, the teacher's union and the League of Women Voters.

Sponsors of the measure, Reps. Eric Pettigrew and Sharon Tomiko Santos, both Seattle Democrats, say the school district is too big to solve its problems.

Speakers at the hearing last week said the public doesn't want the district to be split. They contend two districts would cost more and likely be a worse at closing the achievement gap between kids from different ethnic and economic groups.