K12 Finance Task Force

McCleary Phase II

The Legislature has made significant progress toward fully funding basic education. In the last three years, we’ve reduced K-3 class sizes, funded all-day kindergarten, and provided kids adequate materials and supplies for their classrooms. But there’s one critical and final component we must deal with – teacher compensation and local…


Ross’ Statement on August McCleary Order

The Supreme Court released a new order in the McCleary case this morning, holding the state in contempt and fining it $100,000 per day (to pay for basic education) until it resolves the remaining issues, including both the unconstitutional dependence on local levies to pay for basic education personnel costs…


Senate Budget – Unconstitutional Fund Transfer?

In the Senate Republican budget they transfer $166 million of the “Common School Construction Fund” into the operating budget. The Treasurer does not believe he has the constitutional authority to make this transfer and has said so publicly. The Senate Republicans are waving a letter from their staff attorney that…


Education Bills and Background

Lots has been happening on the education front this year, though the most important thing is happening in closed rooms as the House and Senate work out their budget proposals. I sat on a school funding panel in front of the Washington State School Directors Association today with Sen. Bruce…


Legislative Update

We’ve gone through the first week. The governor and the state-wide officials have all been inaugurated, I fit into the same tuxedo I got married in 23 years ago for the inaugural ball, the Senate is in uproar about Senator Tom’s defection and the consequent change in partisan control, the…


What’s in “McCleary?”

In 2012 the Washington State Supreme Court found that Washington State is not funding our education system at anything close to the level the constitution requires. Just before the holidays the court opined again, that “the overall level of funding remains below the levels that have been declared constitutionally inadequate.”…


Budget Outline 2013-15

In 2013 the Legislature has three big budget problems to address. It may be that there are other issues for the Legislature (gun safety, mental health, transportation…) but as the budget chair I have an odd focus on what I’m responsible for. Balance the 2013-15 budget, plus make sure that…



Tax Incidence in Washington

(9/25/2014 Fixed link to DC study and updated it to the 2012 version.) There were a number of questions asked in today’s K-12 Finance Task Force meeting about how taxpayers in different income strata experience Washington’s tax system. I’m providing some links to interesting data while we wait for more…


School Funding Task Force Work Plan

At the school funding task force meeting this morning we discussed and adopted the a work plan for the exercise. The document describing this work plan is available here: Initial Plan for K-12 funding policy development . Below is the intro text from this document: In January the Washington State Supreme…