Washington Gov. Aims to Raid State Savings to Satisfy K-12 Funding Order

By Daarel Burnette II — December 15, 2017 1 min read
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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said Thursday that he wants to raid that state’s savings account in order to comply with a recent state supreme court ruling that the state’s teachers to get a pay raise sooner than later.

He also wants to tap into a new carbon tax on fossil fuel to backfill the savings account. Altogether, Inslee wants to spend $950 million to increase the teachers’ salary by the fall of 2018.

“It’s the final step to completion of this constitutional obligation,” Inslee said, according to the Associated Press. “Our teachers and students are depending on us to deliver this this year.”

The state has been under a court order, the McCleary v. Washington ruling, since 2012 to increase its funding for public schools. But the state has dragged its feet on increasing teacher pay, an expensive task that the state has struggled to find the funds for. The court has fined the legislature $100,000 a day for every day it is in session and doesn’t come up with a plan.

The state finally managed to pass a budget during this year’s legislative session that would eventually increase beginning teacher salaries by 2019. But the court last month said that solution doesn’t meet its 2018 deadline and said it will increase its sanctions if the state doesn’t sooner comply.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.