Oral Arguments in the McCleary Case

Oral arguments took place on October 24th.  The State asked the Court to find them in compliance with the Court's previous ruling in McCleary.  The attorney for the Plaintiffs, Thomas Ahearne, argued that the State was still not in compliance.  You can read a summary of the hearing at https://www.wastatepta.org/state-assistant-attorney-general-asks-supreme-court-end-mccleary-case/

The Court's decision is still pending and is not expected to be issued until near the end of 2017.

For more information on K-12 Finance which provides more details about the issues affecting the ample funding of education read the following 2015 booklet: http://leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/WM/Documents/K-12%20Booklet_2015%202-10-15.pdf

Legislative Assembly 2017

The Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly took place in Olympia on October 20th and 21st. PTA delegates from around the state caucused on issues and resolutions and voted on which items to include on the WSPTA 2017-2018 platform. Below is the 2017-2018 WSPTA platform as voted on by the delegates at the legislative assembly:

Legislative Principles

The Legislative Principles are the overarching goals of the WSPTA. All issues put forth by the WSPTA are in service to supporting the following areas of educational reform:

1. Budget, revenue, and funding
2. Parent and family involvement
3. Public education policies
4. Health and well-being of children and youth
5. Safe and nurturing environments for children and youth


Top Five Issues

1. Social and Emotional Learning: A positive school climate includes intentional work on addressing safety, relationships, teaching and learning, discipline, and family and community engagement. This work can be accomplished through use of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills, the implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and quality family and community engagement.

2. Amply Fund Basic Education: The goal of the McCleary decision is to amply fund basic education as defined by HB 2261 and 2776. The WSPTA supports legislation that will increase revenue in a progressive and equitable manner. WSPTA also supports legislation that provides additional and adequate funding for school facilities and infrastructure. More information about the McCleary Decision can be found at the bottom of this page.

3. Closing the Opportunity Gap: WSPTA supports efforts to implement the recommendations of the Educational Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC). The recommendations include cultural competence education, bilingual instruction, recruitment and hiring of educators of color, etc.

4. Career Development and Training for Para-educators: Para-educators provide over half of all instruction to the most at-risk students (including special education, Title I, and English language learners) yet receive the least training of all education staff in schools. WSPTA supports policies and legislation that set standards, training, and education for para-educators.

5. Breakfast After the Bell: WSPTA supports the institution of a "Breakfast After the Bell" program in high-needs schools. This would change when breakfast is offered to after the bell resulting in more students being able to participate in breakfast each day.


New Legislative Issues for 2017

Addressing the Teacher Shortage:  WSPTA supports legislation that supports recruitment of new teachers, scholarships for teacher certifications, and alternative routes to certification. 

School Construction and Class Size Reduction: WSPTA supports legislation which proposes using a simple majority for school bonds and restructuring the school construction assistance formula.

Best Practices for School Meal Policies:  WSPTA supports legislation related to the CDC/USDA recommendation for 20 minutes of seated lunch time and recess before lunch. WSPTA will also support policies that prohibit shaming students related to meal debt.

Career Connected Learning, CTE, and STEM: WSPTA supports implementing programs that inspire real-life career options through all grades K-12.

Dual Credit Equality and Support:  WSPTA supports funding and outreach for dual credit programs including scholarships for students to be able to afford the tests to receive credits earned.

Equity for Highly Capable: WSPTA supports programs to improve the equitable identification of highly capable students, especially low-income students, students of color, and/or those who have learning or other disabilities. 

LGBTQ+ Inclusion:  WSPTA supports school policies that promote the right of all children, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression, to participate fully and equitably in school.  WSPTA also supports OPSI's efforts to incorporate LGBTQ information and teaching into current health curricula.

Preventing and Mitigating the Impacts of Gender-Based Violence: WSPTA supports policies that support awareness and prevention of gender-based harassment and violence.  

Mental Health Needs for Children: WSPTA supports policies that prioritize the funding and availability of mental health intervention and services, especially early intervention for pre-K and elementary ages.

Trauma Informed Care: WSPTA supports evidence-based systemic prevention and intervention programs for students affected by trauma and chronic stress.

 

Continuing Legislative Issues from 2016-2017

Increased Access to Higher Education: WSPTA supports efforts to address affordability and access issues in Higher Education. Some programs that have been supported by the WSPTA include “Pay it Forward” and similar loan programs. WSPTA supports expanding funding for State Need Grants and College Bound Scholarships.

Removing Barriers to Implementing ECEAP: WSPTA supports the expansion of the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) which is the state’s pre-K program.
Restorative Justice and School Safety: WSPTA supports the use of family and community-based restorative justice models for youth discipline and school safety issues. We also support initiatives to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice.

Engaging Families in Student Success: WSPTA supports legislation providing a clear definition and title for Family Engagement Coordinators and expanding funding for at least one 1.0 FTE Family Engagement Coordinator per school.

Improving Education Outcomes for Foster Children: WSPTA supports policies and legislation that increase high school graduation rates and improve educational transitions for foster children.

Restorative Justice and School Safety:  WSPTA supports restorative justice models of discipline including family and community-based discipline alternatives.

 

To learn more about the WSPTA platform and open issues, visit the Washington State PTA Advocacy page at https://www.wastatepta.org/ focus-areas/advocacy/

You can also sign up to receive emails detailing the most current legislative action at https://www.wastatepta.org/ grassroots-connection-blog/.  

 
Legislative Session 2017:  McCleary Agreement
 
An agreement regarding McCleary was made at the end of the 2017 legislative session.  Some highlights from this agreement are below:
  • Increased K-12 funding by $7.3 billion over the next four years
  • Increased beginning teacher salary to at least $40,000 as well as other salary-related increases for educators
  • Increased funding to programs that close gaps by approximately $500 over the next four years
  • Increased funding for early learning by $25 million
  • Increased funding for higher education
  • New reporting requirements for accountability and transparency
For a more detailed outline of this agreement, view the 2017 Legislative Scorecard on the League of Education Voters website at http://educationvoters.org/ mccleary-resources/.  The McCleary Agreement Overview and Analysis is also a good reference for information regarding this agreement.
 
More information about the history of the McCleary Decision can be found at the bottom of this page.
 
The 2018 legislative session starts January 8th.
 

What is the McCleary Decision?

In 2009, the Supreme Court decided that the Washington State Legislature was failing to meet its constitutional obligation to sufficiently fund education. The State was ordered to fully fund K-12 education by the 2017-2018 school year. It was determined by legislative study that adequately funding basic education in Washington by the 2017-2018 school year would cost $12,546 per student. It was further determined that to reach this goal the Legislature would need to reach particular benchmarks each year. By the end of the 2013-2014 school year, the Legislature had not reached any of these benchmarks.

The Supreme Court then found the Washington State Legislature in Contempt of Court for not fulfilling this obligation. It is important to note that the Supreme Court is not determining the State budget, rather it is enforcing the Constitution of the State of Washington that clearly states that the Legislature will amply fund education for each student in the state. In 2015, the Supreme Court began to sanction the State $100,000 a week until the State fulfilled its funding obligations

On July 14, 2016, the Supreme Court issued an order regarding McCleary. The State was ordered to take the following actions:

1. Make a decision on the placement of the 2017-2018 school year deadline (e.g. beginning of school year, end of school year, etc.);
2. Provide a sufficient plan to meet the funding goals;
3. Provide an estimate of education costs, including operations, capital costs, salaries, etc.;
4. Provide a list of what has already been adequately funded;
5. Provide a list of what has not been funded and a plan for how the State intends to meet this obligation; and
6. Make a case for dismissing the Contempt of Court Order and removing the sanctions.

A hearing on this matter took place on September 7, 2016. On October 6th, the Supreme Court made a final decision regarding the arguments put before it at this hearing. The Court stated that the State had failed to submit a complete plan for achieving full compliance with its constitutional duty to Washington students. The Court then ordered that it would not lift the $100,000 per day contempt sanction. In regards to the timing of the funding implementation, the Court stated that “the State has until September 1, 2018, to fully implement its program of basic education, and that the remaining details of that program, including funding sources and the necessary appropriations for the 2017-19 biennium, are to be in place by final adjournment of the 2017 legislative session.”

The full order can be found at the following link: 
http://www.courts.wa.gov/ content/publicUpload/Supreme% 20Court%20News/ 843627Order100616.pdf