The McCleary education funding case

The Washington State Constitution states: "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex." In 1976 the Seattle School District sued the state and the state Supreme Court held that the K-12 funding system was neither ample nor stable as it relied too heavily on local levies. In response, the Legislature adopted the Basic Education Act and the Levy Lid Act, which aimed to limit local levies. Over time, changes made to the Levy Lid Act increased local levy authority to today's rates – triple what they were in some cases. This "levy creep" contributed to the filing of the McCleary lawsuit in 2007. The state Supreme Court accepted review of the case in 2012 and held the state has not amply funded basic education, ordering the state to implement certain reforms, fully fund basic education by 2018, and retained jurisdiction of the case to monitor the state's compliance.

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Republicans vote to prioritize K-12 education in the budget process

As the House votes on rules for the legislative session, House Republicans introduce an amendment that prioritize K-12 education funding in the budgeting process. The amendment fails on a party-line vote.

Senate committee passes Education Equality Act

The Senate Republicans' One Washington Education Equality Act passes on a 25-24 vote. The plan is described by Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal as "very comprehensive." In a news conference, Sen. Joe Fain describes the new funding approach as, "flat, fair and progressive."

House Democrats release their K-12 education funding plan

The House Democrats release their K-12 education-funding plan. Unlike the Senate MCC's plan, the House Democrat's plan does not include meaningful reforms, such as performance metrics or specific expectations, or any reforms to collective bargaining or health benefit administration. A plan to pay for the proposal is also not included. Click “Find out more” for a side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate plans.

Senate MCC releases the One Washington Education Equality Act

The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus releases their education plan, dubbed the One Washington Education Equality Act. This plan would provide ample, dependable and equitable funding for our schools. It focuses on student outcomes, drives important reforms, demands accountability and promotes local control.

House votes to extend the "levy cliff"

The House approves House Bill 1059 on a 62-35 vote. The bill would delay changes to the levy lid until calendar year 2019. Currently, most of Washington's 295 school districts can collect as much as 28 percent of their levy base. That levy lid is projected to decrease to 24 percent, unless the bill is enacted into law this year. There are additional corresponding reductions to Local Effort Assistance.

Court: Article IX Committee fails to demonstrate progress

The state Supreme Court says the first report from the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation does not meet the Court's requirement to demonstrate progress.

Bipartisan bill saves charter schools

Senate Bill 6194 passes, reestablishing public charter schools in Washington state and providing for a constitutional funding source. Just before the school year began in September, the state Supreme Court invalidated charter schools since they were not considered common schools and could not be funded as such.

Another extension to sanctions against Legislature is granted by the Court

Due to the Legislature needing another special session to negotiate a two-year state budget, the Court provides another extension on sanctions.

2015-17 budget adds significant investments in K-12 education

Senate Bill 6052 (the 2015-17 operating budget) is approved by the Legislature. The budget provides $740 million for materials, supplies and operating costs, $350 million to reduce K-3 class size, and $180 million to expand full-day kindergarten. It also fully funds I-732 teacher COLA at maintenance level (1.8 percent/1.2 percent) and provides an additional one-time salary adjustment (1.2 percent/0.6 percent). As a result of its passage, K-12 education makes up 48 percent of the state budget.

Sanctions imposed on Legislature for lack of progress on McCleary

The state Supreme Court orders the state to pay $100,000 a day in sanctions, due to the Legislature’s failure to come up with a plan to fulfill the 2018 deadline to fully fund basic education.

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