Supreme Court orders Legislature to fully fund K-12!
Preamble, Article IX, Washington Constitution: 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 its January, 2012 McCleary decision, the state Supreme Court ordered the state to fully fund K-12 public schools as required by the Washington Constitution.
During the 2012 legislative session, after cutting $2.6 billion from K-12 in the previous four years, lawmakers avoided making additional cuts in school funding. They didn’t, however, make sufficient progress toward complying with the Supreme Court’s order or funding ESHB 2261 and SHB 2776, laws that redefine basic education and change school funding formulas.
In December, 2012, the Supreme Court chastised the Legislature for its inaction on complying with McCleary: “Steady progress requires forward movement. Slowing the pace of funding cuts is necessary, but it does not equate to forward progress; constitutional compliance will never be achieved by making modest funding restorations to spending cuts.”
For more info, read and/or download:
- Supreme Court McCleary ruling
- Supreme Court admonishment of the Legislature
- McCleary FAQs from the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools
- Washington ranks 43rd in student spending
- Class sizes ranked 47th in the nation
- $2.6 billion in K-12 cuts
- Teacher and ESP pay recommendations
- WEA McCleary analysis
- Rebuttal to critics of the McCleary decision
- ESHB 2261
- SHB 2776
- 2013 WEA Legislative Agenda
WEA supports proposed changes in educator pay
As part of its efforts to comply with the McCleary Supreme Court decision, the Legislature created a committee to recommend changes on how educators are paid. The Compensation Technical Work Group recommendations include increasing beginning teacher pay to about $48,000 a year. WEA supports the recommendations in their current form and believes they should be funded as part of the McCleary order. Read the complete educator pay recommendations.
Washington is 43rd in student spending, $2,700 below national average
Adjusted for regional cost-differences, Washington now ranks 43rd in student spending. Only seven states invest less per child. The statistic, based on a new report from Education Week, shows Washington’s ranking fell by one slot and that spending in Washington decreased by $184 per-student from the previous report. The new numbers, which are from 2010, show Washington spends $2,679 less per student compared to the national average. Washington is one of only 19 states whose per-pupil funding declined year-over-year from 2009.
Over the last four years, the state has cut approximately $2.6 billion from the K-12 schools budget.
Washington teacher salaries are losing ground
The National Education Association has released its current Rankings & Estimates of state school statistics.
OSPI reports Washington’s average classroom teacher salary of $52,212 for 2011-12. This is a decrease of 1.3 percent ($714) from the 2010-11 reported salary of $52,926.
NEA’s report shows the 2010-11 average salary of $52,926 ranks 21st nationally (down from $53,003 and 19th in 2009-10).
Washington’s reported salary of $52,926 is –
• $2,697 (4.8 percent) BELOW the national average (50 states and DC) of $55,623
• $11,378 (17.7 percent) BELOW the WEST COAST weighted average (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington) of $64,304
More facts on funding and revenue
“No denying it: At least $10 billion has been cut from the state budget.” Read this report from the Washington State Budget & Policy Center.
Cut deeper or close tax loopholes? Read this compelling comparison from the Our Economic Future Coalition.
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