There have been some questions on the significance of ‘McCleary’ and what it means for Lafayette students. In a nutshell, ‘McCleary’ is the shorthand reference to a decision from the Washington State Supreme Court from 2012 which ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, the McCleary family and others, who had sued the State of Washington for failure to fully fund K-12 education as mandated by the Washington State constitution. The lawsuit was filed in 2007.
The State Supreme Court ruled that the legislature was required to provide full funding for the State’s public schools by 2018. The legislature was to make ‘steady progress’ on fully funding education through the implementation of successive educational budgets. Needless to say, the legislature has fallen far short of the budgetary goals articulated before the Court by the State in testimony elicited before the Court.
On September 11 of this year the Supreme Court issued a contempt order against the legislature for failing to present a sufficient budgetary plan in conformity with the Court’s decision. Such a contempt order is unprecedented in State history and puts pressure on the legislature to comply with the Court’s McCleary decision, or else. What the ‘or else’ may be will be decided at the end of the 2015 legislative session by the Court if the legislature still has not generated a budgetary plan which the Court finds satisfactory.
The ramifications for Lafayette students of full implementation of the McCleary decision are boundless. ‘Steady progress’ to reach the budgetary goal set by the Court requires the State to increase K-12 funding an average of $655/pupil each year from 2009/10 to 2017/18. With a contempt order hanging over its head, the legislature is under great pressure to comply with the Court’s decision in the biennial budget to be implemented in the upcoming session.
In summary, now is the time to put pressure on your local representatives to comply with McCleary. The representatives in the 34th District, Lafayette’s District, are Sen. Sharon Nelson, Rep. Eileen Cody, and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon. Drop them an email and let them know you care about what they are doing to implement McCleary.