High Court Finds State isn't Fully Funding Education
Statement from Rep. Bruce Dammeier on the Washington State Supreme Courts ruling on McCleary v. State 25th District lawmaker is House Republican leader on K-12 education
The Washington State Supreme Court released its decision today on McCleary v. State, a case that challenges the adequacy of state funding for K-12 education under article IX, section 1 of the Washington State Constitution. The decision can be found here.
Rep. Bruce Dammeier, ranking Republican on the House Education Committee and assistant ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, released the following statement:
In reviewing the Supreme Courts decision, a few things stand out to me. First, the court makes it clear that the Legislature is not amply funding basic education. The state is simply not living up to the legal and moral responsibilities to its students. The solution is a fundamental restructuring of the budget and prioritizing education. As we look to close the 1.5 billion dollar shortfall this budget cycle, spending cannot be drawn down equally across state government. There must be an understanding that all programs and services are not equal, and education is paramount.
Secondly, the courts decision underscores the importance of living up to the expectations of House Bill 2261 from 2009, which established a new blueprint to define and fund basic education in the state. While more decisions will need to be made by state lawmakers in the future, House Bill 2261 is the path forward for education funding and meeting the expectations of the courts decision.
Thirdly, the courts decision runs contrary to the approach being proposed by the governor for education funding. She wants to demote certain areas of education funding to buy-back status, including levy equalization and the number of school days, and then buy them back through a state sales tax increase that even she calls a regressive approach. Education is not a buy back or buy last its a buy first. We should be amply funding education first, not using our students as leverage to drive a new tax increase.
Finally, while education funding is critically important, so are policy changes that are focused on better outcomes for our students. The status quo is not delivering for all of our students and we need solutions that ensure better results. As we move forward, the focus needs to be on student achievement not process.
# # #