October 30, 2017
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Supreme Court drills down during McCleary oral arguments

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments on its longstanding school funding case last week. Justices were, according to newspaper accounts, frustrated with lawyers for both sides.

Justices appeared to be weighing whether they could prod lawmakers to add more money to the education plan the Legislature passed this year as part of their ongoing supervision of state spending stemming from their 2012 McCleary ruling. In that ruling, the Supreme Court said the Legislature was unconstitutionally underfunding schools. The state has been under a contempt of court order since 2014 for what the Supreme Court calls inadequate progress on addressing that ruling.

Over recent years, the Legislature has added billions of dollars in K-12 education spending, bringing public education above 50 percent of state expenditures for the first time in a generation.

The state argued that its latest budget, which adds $7.3 billion in new state spending on schools over the next four years, helps meet the high court's demands.

Attorneys for the McCleary family and other plaintiffs say the state has moved money around, but hasn't added enough.

A ruling from the high court is expected within the next few months.

The Seattle Times, The Herald, The News Tribune and the Northwest News Network covered the story.

For more on education policy, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson.

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'Hirst Will Shatter the American Dream...'

Call the Legislature back to pass capital budget, fix water-rights ruling

By former Gov. Dan Evans

It's time for Gov. Jay Inslee, together with Republicans and Democrats in both houses of the Legislature, to put partisanship aside and solve two pressing problems. Washington state needs a capital budget and a fix to the state Supreme Court's Hirst decision, which has impacted homebuilding in rural areas.

As construction costs rise, every day that goes by without passage of the state's capital budget means that taxpayers will pay more for building schools and other projects, and it means that needed construction is delayed.

Equally important is modification of the law in response to the Hirst decision. Hirst will shatter the American dream for some Washington state families because they may not be able to obtain water on the properties they purchased unless the Legislature enacts a solution to that decision...

Read the full column in The Seattle Times
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