Supreme Court rules Legislature still failing to fund basic education

Nov 15, 2017, 9:37 AM | Updated: 1:10 pm

school buses...

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that the state Legislature has not met the school funding mandate in the McCleary case.

The justices voted 9-0, acknowledging that “the state has made significant progress in fully funding the program of basic education” but said that the funding system adopted, “delays by over a year implementation of a constitutionality compliant salary model, a critical part of meaningful reform.”

A $100,000 day fine against the state stands.

The court order, which summarizes nearly six years of history in the case, points out the Legislature has satisfied the court’s mandate on kindergarten through third grade class size reduction; all-day kindergarten; transportation; and funding for materials and supplies. However, as things stand today, the salary allocation model remains outdated.

“The court’s constitutional responsibility is to the school children of this state who have an enforceable right … to an amply-funded education,” the court said. “We cannot erode that constitutional right by saying that the state is now ‘close enough’ to constitutional compliance.”

The court ordered the state to have a report ready by April of next year detailing its progress.


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Supreme Court rules Legislature still failing to fund basic education