Wash. Supreme Court Says State Is Not On Track To Fully Fund Education

Nov 15, 2017

Even though state lawmakers passed a plan this summer to fully fund basic education, Washington's highest court said Wednesday the state still isn't on track to comply with its constitutional duty.

The latest order, signed by all nine justices, acknowledges the state has made progress and the new plan "will achieve constitutional compliance." But it "delays by over a year implementation of a constitutionally compliant salary model."

That means the plan won't be fully implemented by a Sept. 1, 2018 deadline.

"We cannot erode that constitutional right by saying that the State is now 'close enough' to constitutional compliance," the order reads.

Wednesday's order is about the court's 2012 ruling in McCleary v. State, which said the state was failing to fund basic education. Since then, the state Legislature has been working on a plan to comply with that ruling.

After multiple special sessions this summer, lawmakers said they had a school funding plan. Lawyers for the state argued in October that the state should be found in compliance with the ruling. Lawyers for the plaintiffs disagreed.

The newest order also states that the court will maintain $100,000-per-day sanctions on the state. The court has asked the state to submit a report on its progress by April of next year.