School officials are still crunching the numbers, but many Washington school administrators suggest the state still won’t be paying the full cost of basic education.
IN court papers filed last month, lawyers for Washington state argue the state has met its obligation to amply fund public schools in response to the Washington Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary decision.
Not so fast.
The Supreme Court should be reticent to pronounce “mission accomplished” on school funding reform until school officials have time to fully analyze the new system the Legislature passed in a whirlwind more than a month ago.
Lawmakers have made progress toward more equitable education funding that passes constitutional muster, but their work is far from finished.
School administrators are still frantically crunching the numbers in preparation for the new school year. But, in interviews, many from across the state suggest the state still will not be paying the full cost of basic education in their districts. As they dig deep into the state budget, unpleasant surprises keep popping up.
Sometime soon, the Supreme Court will judge the Legislature’s proposed solution to its 2012 McCleary ruling on school funding and decide if the state is now in compliance with the Washington State Constitution. Article IX calls for ample funding for a uniform system of public schools for all children living in the state. The justices should put that final decision on hold for another year, until school districts truly understand the implications of the reforms and the two-year budget lawmakers cobbled together behind closed doors, without time for public analysis and input.
The state budget process was so brazenly secretive and rushed, no one could possibly know yet if it meets the requirements of the McCleary decision.
The plaintiff’s lawyers will argue that the Legislature did not meet those requirements. Either way, the justices must retain jurisdiction…