WA Research Council reports lawmakers’ McCleary response has boosted state’s national education funding ranking

More than two years after the state Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature had satisfied its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education as interpreted in what’s known as the McCleary decision, the increased funding is now reflected in national data. The Washington Research Council reports,

In response to the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, the Legislature increased state spending on public schools by 110.0 percent from 2009–11 to 2019–21. (Spending on all other programs increased by just 52.0 percent.) The increases in state spending have translated into higher per-pupil spending by school districts.

To show how dramatic the increase has been, we’ll reproduce the WRC chart.

The WRC then looks at how Washington ranks nationally on state and local per pupil spending.

The most recent year of data that is comparable nationally is school fiscal year 2018(i.e., SY 2017–18). In SY 2017–18, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Washington’s public schools spent $12,995 per student (above the national average of $12,612 per student). Spending per student increased by 37.0 percent over SY 2010–11—the highest percentage growth over the period in the country.

The table below shows how Washington’s rankings have changed for school revenues per pupil from state, local, and total sources. Washington has moved up in all three of these rankings in recent years.

The table shows Washington rankings 8th in funding from state sources, 32nd in funding from local sources, and 18th in funding from all sources.

Follow the link to see the table and more detail on the data.