The Supreme Court should get more directly involved in the state’s necessary effort to reform the school-funding system.
THE Legislature has failed again to fix the unconstitutional way the state pays for education. Time for the state Supreme Court to get more directly involved.
Although the governor is expected to call a second 30-day overtime session when the first one ends on Tuesday, he should refrain. That would delay the inevitable: the Washington Supreme Court’s next ruling calling out the Legislature for not following its orders to repair the inequities in Washington public schools.
This editorial board does not come to this position lightly. Leaders in the Legislature have shown they are incapable of cutting a deal on education funding and finishing the work required by the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.
In 2012, the justices agreed with a coalition of parents, school districts, teachers and community groups that the way Washington pays for its public schools is unconstitutional, because that funding is not ample, is overreliant on local levies and doesn’t address inequity among schools and districts.
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Leaders on education policy say they have made a lot of progress this spring on a framework to make Washington’s public schools more equitably funded. However, the budget negotiators are nowhere near agreement on a state budget to pay for that deal. Given their standoff, another 30-day special session is unlikely to get them there.
If the logjam doesn’t break by Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee should let the Supreme Court supply the extra incentive the Legislature needs. The court has a number of options, if it is not satisfied: from invalidating tax breaks to free up billions of dollars for education to canceling school for fall 2018 until the Legislature finishes its work on education reform.
Five months after convening in Olympia, budget writers…