While the result itself wasn’t a surprise, the seemingly abrupt end to the long-running McCleary education funding case late last week still seemed to catch many off guard. In a unanimous, five-page opinion, the State Supreme Court lifted the $100,000 per day sanctions against the state and ended its jurisdiction over the 11-year-old case.
Here’s what elected leaders and others had to say about the conclusion of the landmark case:
Gov. Jay Inslee: “Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms that, at long last, our Legislature is providing the funding necessary to cover the basic costs of our K-12 schools. Reversing decades of underfunding has been among the heaviest lifts we’ve faced in recent years and required difficult and complex decisions, but I’m incredibly proud and grateful for all those who came together on a bipartisan basis to get this job done.” Read the full statement here.
State Superintendent of Public Instructin Chris Reykdal: “The Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling today comes as no surprise. The Legislature has made meaningful progress during the past three budget cycles. McCleary v. State of Washington concerned a previous model of education funding. That model relied too heavily on local property taxes and not enough on state resources, and this is why the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional.” Read the full statement here.
House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (Covington): “We’re glad the Supreme Court recognized the Legislature’s many years of hard work to solve the McCleary school funding case. More importantly, it means we have made significant education investments that will benefit the state’s 1.1 million school children.” Read the full statement here.
Sen. John Braun (Centralia) Ranking Member, Ways & Means Committee: “The fact that Washington students had not been receiving an adequately or equitably funded education came as no surprise given schools had been a low priority of the Legislature in the decades before 2013. We were finally able to make historic investments over the last five years by putting the needs of students, teachers and parents first in our budgets.” Read the full statement here.
Washington Education Association President Kim Mead: “This is a tremendous day for the 1.1 million students of Washington state, and we mark this milestone as a victory for them and public education. I am proud of the efforts of WEA members who fought so hard over the past 15 years to see that our state’s leaders met their paramount duty to amply fund basic education. We appreciate the gains for students we’ve made because of the McCleary case.” Read the full statement here.
Network for Excellence in Washington Schools (NEWS), plaintiffs: “Today, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling that brings an end to the McCleary lawsuit’s successful challenge to the constitutionality of the State funding levels at issue in our lawsuit’s 2009 trial. Today’s ruling does not, however, resolve the constitutionality of the State’s new basic education program funding levels. The fight is not over! NEWS will continue.” Read the full statement here.