Regional News

Washington Supreme Court Issues Order on McCleary Education Case


Nov 15, 2017

The Washington Supreme Court today issued an order in the case of McCleary, et al. v. State of Washington ruling that the State is not on track to meet the September 1, 2018 deadline to fully implement its program of basic education. 

The court’s ruling retains jurisdiction of the landmark education case, continues daily sanctions and orders a report by the State by April 9, 2018 on its progress toward full compliance during the next legislative session.

Signed by all nine justices of the Court, the order acknowledges that “the State has made significant progress in fully funding the program of basic education” but notes that the funding system adopted, “delays by over a year implementation of a constitutionally compliant salary model, a critical part of meaningful reform.”

The order summarizes the nearly six years of history in the case, along with analysis of several areas of reform that have satisfied the Court’s mandate, including: K-3 class size reductions; all-day kindergarten; transportation; materials and supplies; and categorical programs such as highly capable students and special education.

However, the order notes that as things stand today, the salary allocation model enacted in EHB 2242 complies with the State’s obligation to fully fund K-12 basic education salaries, but it will not be implemented by September 1, 2018 – the deadline the Legislature itself recognized. 

“The court’s constitutional responsibility is to the schoolchildren of this state who have an enforceable right under article IX, section 1 to an amply funded education,” said the Court.  “We cannot erode that constitutional right by saying that the State is now ‘close enough’ to constitutional compliance.”

The ruling responds to the most recent report of the Washington State Legislature and oral argument on progress made toward meeting constitutional education requirements outlined by the Court in its January 5, 2012 original opinion in this case. 

The order states that upon reviewing the parties’ submissions in April, the Court will determine what, if any, additional actions to take.  The Court’s most recent order, along with a complete history of the documents filed in this case.

 


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