Supreme Court threatens to hold state in contempt over school funding, lists penalties

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wasupremecourtOLYMPIA — The Washington Supreme Court issued an order Thursday summoning the state attorney general to appear before it on Sept. 3 to explain why the state should not be held in contempt of court for failing to abide by its 2012 McCleary decision requiring fully funding of schools.

In its order, the Supreme Court noted that after the 2013 legislative session, the court found the state had not made sufficient progress to be on track to fully fund the educational reforms by the 2017-18 school year. The court issued an order on Jan. 9, 2014,  directing the state to submit by April 30 “a complete plan” to fully implement the program of basic education for each school year.

After the 2014 legislative session, the Legislature’s Joint Select Committee issued its report that “candidly admits” that the Legislature did not enact additional timelines in 2014 to implement the educational reforms, the court noted.

“The State is hereby summoned to appear before the Supreme Court to address why the State should not be held in contempt for violation of this court’s order dated Jan. 9, 2014, that directed the State to submit by April 30, 2014, a complete plan for fully implementing its program of basic education for each school year between now and the 2017-18 school year.

“The State should also address why, if it is found in contempt, any of the following forms of relief requested by the plaintiffs, Mathew and Stephanie McCleary, et al., should not be granted:

  1. Imposing monetary or other contempt sanctions;
  2. Prohibiting expenditures on certain other matters until the court’s constitutional ruling is complied with;
  3. Ordering the legislature to pass legislation to fund specific amounts or remedies;
  4. Order the sale of state property to fund constitutional compliance;
  5. Invalidating education funding cuts to the budget
  6. Prohibiting any funding of an unconstitutional education system; and
  7. Any other appropriate relief.”


The court’s full order can be seen by clicking here: court

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