Governor signs education funding plan; “next step … is arguably the most complex”

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed the education funding plan (video coverage here). As the Association of Washington Business points out, this was the first piece of legislation passed this year. AWB further noted,

The bill puts the Legislature on a path to meet the Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary education funding ruling by the end of 2017. It’s based on recommendations from a bipartisan, bicameral group convened by the governor, which met over the summer. The group was not able to work out a compromise on how to find the money to replace local “maintenance and operation” school levy dollars and fix the teacher compensation system, The Associated Press reports. This bill would give lawmakers this coming summer and fall to find a solution. 

In signing the bill, the governor said (from AP), 

“This wasn’t easy. The Legislators worked hard on this for months,” Inslee said, adding that the part won’t be easy either. “The next step before us is arguably the most complex and I’m confident the Legislature is up to the task.”

The governor added that he thought the legislation would satisfy the court. 

We have followed the legislation this session and written about it often. Early on, we wrote,

…it was never realistic to expect major funding decisions and commitments to be made during this short session.

The governor is right: Major challenges await the 2017 Legislature. The process set in place by the education finance legislation signed yesterday will help lawmakers meet that challenge.