After two additional legislative sessions, the Washington state legislature has passed a budget that it hopes will comply with the McCleary mandate issued five years ago. As a refresher, McCleary is a 2012 court decision which ruled that school funding in Washington was not adequate. The legislature was ordered to fix the problem. The court gave them until September 1, 2018 to come up with a viable solution—the biggest of which needed to address how the state will pay for teacher salaries. Historically, districts in Washington have had to pick up the tab for teacher pay.
House Bill 2242, which recently passed, was a bipartisan compromise that occurred largely behind closed doors. Although some have noted concern with the deal—specifically, the budget ties teacher salaries to surrounding property values risking exacerbating inequities—many advocates are calling the deal a success. The Campaign for Student Success, a coalition of advocacy organizations organized with the mission to “seize the McCleary moment as an opportunity to do more than just fund the system, but instead put kids first,” stated that HB 2242 is a win for Washington students. PIE Network Members Democrats for Education Reform Washington, League of Education Voters, Stand for Children – Washington are all part of the coalition.
It’s not crystal clear yet if this budget will satisfy the judiciary. The legislature has about a month to prepare a report for the court to consider. We look forward to unpacking this development at our upcoming Summit.