House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s McCleary order.
When the Legislature adjourned a few months ago, I was confident our education funding plan was adequate to ensure our schools are fully funded. I’m pleased the Court announced today they agree with that assessment.
With Democrats leading the way, lawmakers have budgeted more than $13 billion in new funding for public schools since 2009. Every child deserves opportunities to learn, and it’s the Legislature’s constitutional and moral obligation to ensure all kids have those learning opportunities.
As the Court pointed out, the adopted plan does not fully address the salary allocation element until 2019. The 2018 deadline was our original target, but as the complex funding reforms began to take shape, it was clear that target needed to be adjusted.
It would be difficult for many school districts to create the infrastructure needed to implement these reforms by the 2018-19 school year. Lawmakers set out to ensure schools are fully funded, but just as important is to ensure we fund them correctly and not create unnecessary burdens for local school districts.
While I am pleased by today’s order, this isn’t the end of the education discussion. Lawmakers continue to have conversations with school districts regarding elements of the new funding plan that could be improved. The state still has a teacher shortage crisis we must address. Washington has far too many hungry and homeless kids that need stable homes and adequate nutrition in order to excel in the classroom. House Democrats have been working on these and many other issues all year long and are looking forward to addressing them in the upcoming legislative sessions.