McCleary Update: Background, Policy Priorities, and What’s Next

By Mitch Price

The state legislature recently completed its regularly scheduled 105-day legislative session without adopting a budget nor the education policy changes mandated by the state Supreme Court in the McCleary school funding case. Earlier this week, the Governor called the legislature back into a special session so that legislators can finish their work. Here’s a brief status update on where things stand.


In McCleary v. State of Washington, the state Supreme Court ruled that Washington was not adequately funding basic education. The Court ordered the state to address this issue by increasing education funding and reducing reliance on local property tax levies to pay for teacher salaries and other basic education costs. The Court gave the state legislature until the end of the 2017 legislative session to comply.

Current policy priorities

WA Charters supports every Washington public school student and parent in securing a school funding solution that is equitable, fair for all kids, and eliminates reliance on local levies to provide for basic education. To that end, at the start of the current legislative session WA Charters joined the Campaign for Student Success, a diverse coalition of education advocates, parents, and community leaders and fighters for equity. The coalition has been advocating for four key policy priorities:

  • Funding and Fairness: Generating funding based on student need;
  • Student Supports: Prioritizing additional resources to support students in their academic, non-academic, and social-emotional growth;
  • Compensation: Rewarding talented teachers; and
  • Accountability and Transparency: Reporting academic and financial data and identifying performance.

What’s next?

Legislators continue to work toward a compromise solution to comply with the Supreme Court’s requirement that the state amply fund the program of basic education. This could take until late June. WA Charters and our coalition partners will continue to advocate for ample and equitable funding for every Washington public school student. We’ll keep you posted on the legislature’s progress toward this goal. In the meantime, please let us know if you have questions, suggestions, or want more information!

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