Today, the Washington State Supreme Court issued their response on the Legislature’s progress in funding basic education.
The Court recognized the Legislature’s record progress in funding an education continuum and called out their work in fully funding transportation, materials, supplies, and operating costs, as well as their progress in partially funding K–3 class-size reductions and full-day kindergarten. The Court also called out the areas where the Legislature did not make significant progress, namely in funding facilities for class-size reduction and full-day kindergarten, compensation for teachers and other school personnel, and reliance on local levies to provide basic education.
Effectively immediately, the Court is fining the state $100,000 a day until a plan to fully fund basic education is implemented, which will go into a special fund reserved for basic education. The Court also encouraged Governor Jay Inslee to call the Legislature back for a special session.
The League of Education Voters applauds the Court for taking such swift and bold action, and we encourage Governor Inslee to call the Legislature back for a special session to resolve the remaining issues.
Thanks to the Legislature’s historic, bipartisan investments in early learning, K–12 education, and postsecondary education, they now have the opportunity to thoughtfully address teacher compensation, local levies, and facilities funding before the next regular legislative session. Although the problem is undeniably complex, legislators have previously proposed several promising ideas for solving the inequity in the school levy system, and they are in a good position to take real, measurable action.
We encourage the Legislature to return to Olympia reenergized and willing to finish the job to fully, sustainably, and equitably funding public education in our state. They should accomplish this before the next regular legislative session, so that we can move onto the important work of implementation of these funds.