Sunday, June 15, 2014

State Supreme Court takes next step . . .

In this April post, I shared the legislature's response to the State Supreme Court requirement to demonstrate they have a viable plan to fully fund education by 2017.  We knew with the filing that it would fall short of the Court's expectation and last week it was verified with the Court's response. From this Seattle Times article we learn that there is the possibility for contempt if the Court's demands are not met.

The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered lawmakers to explain why they haven’t followed its orders to fix the way Washington pays for public education.
The court has ordered the state to appear before it on Sept. 3 and show the court how it has followed its orders in the 2012 McCleary decision or face contempt.
We will find out on July 11th when they file their opening brief how the legislature will respond.  From this comment by Rep. Sullivan there may be little new to report since the next session will not convene until next January.  My sense is that the Court will need to take that into consideration when they meet in September, but the message will continue to be clear; full funding by 2017 and a clear funding plan by the end of the 2015 session.  Next year's legislators will face even more difficult decisions than they did this year.
“I don’t know of anyone who likes to be called into court,” said House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington. “I’m disappointed that we are where we are.”
The most recent report to the court, filed at the end of April, acknowledged that the Legislature didn’t make a lot of progress in 2014, but said it had ideas for fixing that situation during the 2015 legislative session.
. . . Sullivan said lawmakers have fully anticipated they would need to solve the problem once the next legislative session begins in January.
“Regardless of what action the court does or doesn’t take, it doesn’t change what we have to do,” he said.

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