Legislators to state Supreme Court: We’ve fully complied with your McCleary mandate

The legislative committee charged with responding to the state Supreme Court’s McCleary school funding order believes it need not meet again, Jim Camden reports in the Spokesman-Review.

In what may have been the last meeting of a special legislative committee, lawmakers approved a report telling the state Supreme Court they believe they have finally met the 2012 order to improve education.

The long-running saga may well be concluded. A draft of the committee report states,

In its order of November 15, 2017, this Court upheld the funding reforms of EHB 2242, deeming that the education policies and funding levels in that legislation fell within the range of discretiongranted to the Legislature under Article IX’s paramount duty. The Court determined, however, that the Legislature’s statutory schedule for phasing in its new salary allocation policies did notcomply with the Court’s requirement to complete full implementation of funding reforms by the 2018-19 school year. For that reason, the Court found that the State had failed to achieve full compliance with the Court’s previous orders, and it continued to retain jurisdiction over the case.

The Committee reports that with policy and appropriations legislation enacted in 2018, the Legislature has provided funding to implement fully its salary allocation plan in the 2018-19 school year, completing the tasks identified by this Court as necessary for the State’s compliance with Article IX. Since the Court’s original ruling of January 5, 2012, state funding for K-12 has increased from $13.4 billion in the 2011-13 biennium to $22.8 billion in the 2017-19 biennium.

Looks like full compliance to us. We wrote of the court’s 2017 ruling

The state Supreme Court has issued its decision on the latest (and not yet last) round of the McCleary school-funding lawsuit. The 48-page ruling includes the usual litany of background, progress reports, and legislative review. And much of it reads like the state has made its case, but falls about a billion dollars short in compliance according to the court’s timeline.

The state’s exceptionally robust revenue growth made it possible for lawmakers to find the billion required to reach full funding this year. The court should now be satisfied.