State Supreme Court fines Legislature $100,000 per day for failing to comply with McCleary school funding order

The state Supreme Court has imposed a $100,000 per day fine on the state for failing to comply with the court’s McCleary order. The Seattle Times reports,

The state Supreme Court delivered a unanimous order Thursday sanctioning the state for failing to come up with a plan to fully fund K-12 education per the court’s 2012 McCleary decision.

The order requires a fine of $100,000 per day and encourages Gov. Jay Inslee to call a special session so that lawmakers can finish their work.

As the story continues,

The justices want the money to be held in a special account, “for the benefit of basic education,” according to the order, but the fines will be halted if Inslee calls lawmakers into a special session and they succeed in addressing the issues the court raises.

At $100,000 per day, the fines would amount to more than $14 million by January, when the Legislature convenes for its next scheduled session.

That sounds like a lot of money, but it’s a fraction of the $1.3 billion in new K-12 funding passed in the state budget. Still, it’s enough to make the point. The court wants more action now.

“The detailed plan the court demands in order to fulfill our constitutional obligation will be more complex and expensive than the significant steps we’ve already taken,” the governor’s statement said. “I will talk today with Attorney General (Bob) Ferguson, legislative leaders and others to fully analyze today’s court order.”

Read the article for other reactions. The Washington Research Council points out a significant footnote.  

But, in a footnote in the order, the Court notes that “local levy reform is not part of” the 2014 order. “We offer no opinion on whether full state funding of basic education salaries must be accompanied by levy reform . . . .”

Other coverage in the Puget Sound Business Journal and theAssociated Press.