LOCAL NEWS

What to expect when you’re expecting a McCleary decision

Oct 26, 2017, 5:56 AM

The Washington State Supreme Court has heard arguments over whether the Legislature has finally fully funded K-12 education. Now, Washington waits for yet another McCleary decision.

What happens if the court says the state is still under-funding education?

“I think it’s highly unlikely they will reach that conclusion because the Legislature did take another big step forward to funding basic education in the last session,” said former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna. “They’ve almost doubled state funding per-pupil to $12,000 a year now; by the year 2019-2020. And we’ll have the 5th highest per-pupil state spending in the country as a result. So I don’t think the court will go there.”

RELATED: Supreme Court weighs arguments over McCleary and recent budget

The 2012 McCleary decision put the state on the path to better fund K-12 education. The court concluded that lawmakers were not fully funding the schools, which is mandated by the state constitution. As attorney general, McKenna represented the state in the case.

Despite money added to the education budget over the past few years, the Supreme Court has previously found lawmakers in contempt for their slow progress on the issue. It fined the Legislature $100,000 a day until it started adequately funding the schools.

“As I understand it, in the budgeting process, the money equal to fines was put in a segregated account and then spent on education,” McKenna said. “It’s just taking out of one pocket and putting it into another. But I guess this means the Senate and House can cancel the planned bake sales and car washes that they otherwise would have had to organize.”

As the latest budget was crafted this year, many have watched to see if the Legislature has finally met the court’s demand.

“The first thing they will do is look at the state’s own laws,” McKenna said. “The reason we got into this position with the McCleary lawsuit and the resulting 9-0 Supreme Court decision … is that the Legislature passed a couple big bills that expanded the definition of basic education – for example adding preschool to the definition. And then it failed to provide enough funding. Instead, the Legislature kept pushing the responsibility off to local school districts. So this is a problem of the Legislature’s own making. But the good thing is that it’s a solution the Legislature can make as well.”

McKenna said there may be a bit more work for the Legislature to do in order to complete the job. But the job is mostly finished. Critics, however, claim that while the Legislature is providing funding in the budget, it is also taking money away from previously-passed levies (which were passed to make up for the state’s under-funding).

“I think that there will always be a tug-of-war and disagreements over the budget,” McKenna said. “… It’s getting harder and harder for the plaintiffs in the case to credibly claim that the budgets being passed are not meeting constitutional muster.”

“I think that there won’t be much basis for the Supreme Court to continue to hold them in contempt or threaten new action against the Legislature,” he said.

Local News

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)...
Associated Press

78,000 pounds of infant formula arrives in US

A military plane carrying enough specialty infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles arrived Sunday in Indianapolis.
9 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Pierce County deputies investigating death of 11-year-old

Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies said they were investigating the death of an 11-year-old girl in Midland, WA.
1 day ago
Gee Ursula One Seattle...
KIRO Newsradio staff

Thousands of volunteers give back to the community for One Seattle Day

Thousands of volunteers gave back to the community on Saturday for One Seattle Day, including KIRO Newsradio's own Gee and Ursula Show.
1 day ago
(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)...
Frank Sumrall

Mayor’s search for permanent Police Chief looms over Seattle amid depleting law enforcement numbers

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell recently consulted with a hiring firm as the decision to choose the next Chief of Police heats up.
3 days ago
Seattle Sun...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Sunny skies, warm temperatures forecast for western Washington this weekend

Sunny skies and warm temperatures are forecast for much of western Washington, with some areas expected to reach temps in the 70s.
3 days ago
Student STEM...
Nicole Jennings

From athletes to mathletes: STEM Signing Day shines light on WA scholars

STEM Signing Day gives stellar science, technology, engineering, and math scholars a chance to shine in the same way as high school athletes.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
What to expect when you’re expecting a McCleary decision