Despite our state constitution’s declaration that education is the “paramount duty” of our state, we are not putting in the public effort needed to support a world-class education system and the Washington State Supreme Court agrees. In its McCleary v. Washington ruling, the court found that the state is not fulfilling its constitutional responsibility to fund basic education, and required the Legislature to take action.
In 2012, the state convened the Education Funding Taskforce, which determined that $4.5 billion in every two-year state budget is needed to meet the state’s existing obligations to fund education.
In the time between the 2012 McCleary ruling and the court-imposed 2018 deadline, the state will pass three two-year budgets. In June 2015, the Washington Legislature passed the second of those three budgets.
2015–2017 Education budget
In passing their second post-McCleary budget, the legislature put $1.3 billion toward basic education by fully funding full-day kindergarten and the state’s obligation toward K–12 materials, supplies, and operating costs (MSOC) by the 2016–2017 school year. The budget also funds class-size reduction in grades K–3.
In addition, the Legislature funds cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for teachers per Initiative 732, as well as an additional $153 million COLA for teachers.
Since the 2016 legislative session was a short 60-day session in a non-budget year, minimal changes were made to our state’s K–12 education budget.
LEV activists are already busy planning for the 2017 legislative session. Contact us to learn more or get involved.
A PARAMOUNT DUTY: Funding Education for McCleary and Beyond. Washington Budget and Policy Center. (February 2013)
School Funding: Providing Ample, Equitable & Stable Resources. (January 2013)