Senate Democrats unveil Wash. budget proposalSouthwest Washington educators and health care officials on Tuesday greeted the latest budget proposal by Senate Democrats a little more warmly than they received the House Democrats’ version, but the plan still prompted plenty of criticism.“Overall, we’re pretty pleased with it,” said Steve Olsen, chief fiscal officer of Vancouver Public Schools. But, he added, “the truth will be when the consensus budget comes out.”Clark County school districts fare slightly better in the state Senate budget, Olsen said, because the Senate budget doesn’t delay levy equalization payments, which help even the playing field for districts with comparatively lower property values. The Senate Democrats’ budget also reduces the size of kindergarten through third-grade classes at low-income schools, Olsen said.Higher education officials also were pleased with the Senate proposal. The House version unveiled last week would take about $65 million out of higher education, although some of it is added back in for specific programs.If approved, the supplemental operating budget proposed by Senate Democrats on Tuesday would be the first time since 2007 that Washington State University dodged appropriations cuts, according to a WSU news release. WSU, which has a branch campus in Vancouver, would see $9.3 million slashed from its budget under the House Democrats’ proposal a cut that’s omitted in the Senate version.