On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the state has fulfilled its paramount duty and is now in full compliance with the McCleary decision. The court also lifted the $100,000 a day penalty on the legislature and announced that their jurisdiction in the case is terminated.
In 2017, the legislature passed EHB 2242 – an overhaul to the state’s K-12 funding system that included a $1.8 billion increase in funds over two years. In November of that year, the Supreme Court ruled the provisions of the bill would eventually put the state in compliance. However, the state’s compliance would not likely meet the court’s September 1, 2018 deadline and therefore the legislature would remain in contempt.
Then in the 2018 session, the legislature passed SB 6362 to implement its new salary allocation model in time for the 2018-19 school year and come into compliance with the court’s order.
Following the session in April, the “McCleary Committee” submitted a report to the Supreme Court outlining the ways the legislature has fully met their constitutional duty to fully fund basic education.
The Supreme Court’s ruling marks the end of over a decade long legal battle over the funding of public education in the state.
Governor Inslee and several state legislators quickly issued statements in praise of the Court’s ruling. Governor Inslee states,
“Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms that, at long last, our Legislature is providing the funding necessary to cover the basic costs of our K-12 schools. Reversing decades of underfunding has been among the heaviest lifts we’ve faced in recent years and required difficult and complex decisions, but I’m incredibly proud and grateful for all those who came together on a bipartisan basis to get this job done.
“We know that our children need more than just a basic education. This is not the end of our efforts to ensure schools are able to provide students everything they need to succeed and thrive. There is more to come as we focus on early education, career-connected learning, special education and additional supports for struggling or at-risk students. I look forward to continuing our bipartisan collaboration and success in making Washington’s schools the best.”