National education and labor news

Washington State court ends school funding case

The Washington Supreme Court ruled on June 7 that the state has at last complied with a court-ordered mandate to fully fund its education system by September of this year, ending a decade-long case known as the McCleary lawsuit.

Washington’s failure to comply with that mandate had earned it a $100,000-per-day fine for contempt of court that has been accruing since 2015 and now stands at $102.9 million. That money is earmarked for education.

The lawsuit began in 2007 when two families, the McClearys and the Venemas, took the state to court over inadequate school funding. The case had the financial backing of the state’s teachers union and eventually made it to the state Supreme Court. The court ruled in 2012 that the state was not adequately funding schools.

State lawmakers responded by committing $7.3 billion more in state funds to schools over the next four years by raising state property taxes. The Supreme Court also insisted that the Legislature fund a new teacher and staff salary system by the start of the 2018–19 school year.

Republican state Sen. John Braun, a chief architect of the school funding plan, noted that state funding of education now represents more than 50 percent of the state budget for the first time since 1983.

KUOW News, June 7

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