Reactions to Court order for another hearing on state’s progress toward meeting the court’s McCleary school funding mandate

Yesterday we wrote of the state Supreme Court’s order for the state to show progress toward satisfying the court’s McCleary mandate to fund fully basic education. Several stories today report on the order. (We’ve updated the post to highlight the court’s request for the state to identify “dependable and regular revenue sources” to satisfy the mandate.)

The Spokane Spokesman-Review notes, 

The court gave the Legislature until 2018 to correct those inadequacies. Lawmakers have since added billions to public school programs. But attorneys for the families and other education groups say those moves still don’t cover basic education as it is spelled out in laws passed by previous Legislatures.

From the Everett Herald:

The September hearing won’t alter the dynamics surrounding the school-funding conversation in the Legislature, said Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, a member of a bipartisan committee that provides the court with annual progress reports in the case.

“The court actions are immaterial to the Legislature’s responsibility to eliminate the inequality that has perpetuated a chronic opportunity gap in education,” he said.

[Sen. David] Frockt [D-Seattle]  disagreed with Fain on the hearing’s importance.

“It does matter what the court does,” Frockt said. “The court is the one evaluating if what we do meets constitutional standards.”

And the plaintiffs’ attorney sees the hearing as a good sign,

“It is the Supreme Court taking it very seriously,” said attorney Thomas Ahearne. “They’re not going to wait until the end of the 2017 session for lawmakers to tell them what they think they’ve done.”

From the Seattle Times:

Consultants conducting research for the McCleary task force are expected to provide a tentative cost estimate by the end of August, according to Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah.

Task-force members will not have an opportunity to vet or agree on any cost estimate by Sept. 7, said Magendanz, a member of the task force.

For that reason, he said he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to share any preliminary numbers.

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, said the court’s order is “accelerating the discussion, which is fair.”

So, lawmakers disagree on the importance of the decision and the task force will not have produced the numbers the court is asking them to provide by the date of the hearing. Complicated stuff.