They are holding a private meeting at SeaTac City Hall Monday afternoon to discuss the latest development in the McCleary education funding lawsuit. Then the governor is set to talk with reporters.
Jordan Schrader reports that the state hasn’t begun paying the $100,000 per day fine, and isn’t too worried about it.
State government is leaving a projected $360 million unspent and unrestricted in this two-year budget cycle, so it can afford to let a $100,000-a-day tab run for a while.
Especially when it essentially owes the money to itself.
“We’re good for it,” House budget chairman Ross Hunter said.
The mechanics of fine-paying aren’t straightforward. It appears that moving the cash into a special basic education account required by the court may require a legislative appropriation. If so, that means another special session or that the unpaid fines pile up until January. Hunter isn’t too concerned, he says.
But he said figuring out what to do about the fine is “the part I am least worried about.”
It ranks below a series of intractable problems on school funding that he and other lawmakers believe need to be solved as part of fully funding schools, including figuring out how to raise as much as $3.5 billion extra for salaries and what to do about policies on local levies and collective bargaining.
The $100,000 per day fine looks pretty small compared to the other education finance issues lawmakers will address. But it’s not trivial, either.
In other education news, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn says he’s pleased with state test results.