Washington’s supreme court last week put an end to more than a decade of legal wrangling over how much the state should spend on public schools, finding that the legislature has complied with its 2012 ruling that the state must provide an adequate education to students.
Over the years, the state added millions more dollars to its education budget by expanding all-day kindergarten, reducing class sizes, and paying for classroom supplies. But it had not, as the court required, been able to boost teacher salaries.
The court said repeatedly that the state was not acting fast enough, and ramped up penalties on the state, including a $100,000 fine on the legislature for every day it was in session and did not come up with what they deemed to be a satisfactory spending plan and a warning that it would hold the state in contempt and potentially shut down the schools.
In response, Washington’s legislature this year changed its tax structure to speed up the time frame for teachers to get raises.
A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2018 edition of Education Week as Washington High Court Ends Prolonged School Funding Dispute With Legislature