Category Archives: What’s New

A resolution for school boards: ‘The education of our students cannot afford more State delays’

While we are all gratified that the Washington State Supreme Court continues to hold the Legislature’s feet to the fire under the McCleary ruling, we know that politics can often stand in the way – even when lawmakers want to do the right thing. School districts, parents and other community members must continue to educate policymakers about the mandates of McCleary and urge the State to take speedy and decisive action to give all our children the amply funded education they deserve. To that end, we encourage school boards to consider a resolution so we may have a strong and united voice to help compel the State to do what the Court has ordered. (We are also providing back-up info for the statements made in the resolution.)

Supreme Court fines State $100K/day for McCleary failure

In a unanimous order signed by all nine justices, the Washington State Supreme Court today issued contempt of court sanctions against the State for failing to comply with the Court’s orders in the McCleary case. Read the court order, which concludes with:

“Effective immediately, the State of Washington is assessed a remedial penalty of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per day until it adopts a complete plan for complying with article IX, section 1 by the 2018 school year. The penalty shall be payable daily to be held in a segregated account for the benefit of basic education.

“Recognizing that legislative action complying with the court’s order can only occur in session, but further recognizing that the court has no authority to convene a special session, the court encourages the governor to aid in resolving this matter by calling a special session. Should the legislature hold a special session and during that session fully comply with the court’s order, the court will vacate any penalties accruing during the session. Otherwise, penalties will continue to accrue until the State achieves compliance.

“As it has since the constitutionality of Washington’s school funding system was first litigated in Seattle School District, the court assumes and expects that the other branches of government will comply in good faith with orders of the court issued pursuant to the court’s constitutional duties. Seattle Sch. Dist. 1, 90 Wn.2d at 506-07. Our country has a proud tradition of having the executive branch aid in enforcing court orders vindicating constitutional rights.”

‘The time for this Court to act is now’

As ordered by the Washington State Supreme Court, NEWS filed a brief today showing that the Legislature has failed to comply with the Court’s orders to show “steady, real and measurable progress” in fully and amply funding K-12 public education. NEWS urged, “The time for this Court to act is now.” Read the brief.

NEWS Board member honored for service

Congratulations to Estella Ortega, founder and executive director of El Centro de la Raza and a member of the NEWS Board of Trustees, who will be honored by Seattle CityClub as a civic trailblazer. Estella is the recipient of this year’s Nancy Nordhoff Civic Leadership Award, presented each year to someone from the Pacific Northwest who inspires others to civic action for the common good.

House and Senate budgets fall short

In the hope of cutting through rhetoric, partisan spin and mistaken interpretations of the Supreme Court’s McCleary rulings, NEWS delivered letters to legislators this week reminding them of the State’s own testimony underlying those rulings. We shared a chart with lawmakers that clearly showed that 2015-2017 budgets proposed by both the House and the Senate fail to make the progress ordered by the court.

Read the letter.

View the chart.