Yet. This from The Stranger:
Today, Governor Jay Inslee admitted to the outlaw nature of our current state government in a letter
(.PDF) to all state legislators that, among other things, says flatly
that Olympia's standing is eroding "with Washingtonians who expect we
will support public education and live by the rule of law."
years of them not living by the rule of law, that's a bit of an
But given this concern for how he and others in Olympia are now perceived, will the governor call a special session right now
to find the money for Washington public schools that's still needed in
order to get himself and the legislature on the right side of the
After all, what's still needed for schools is around $2.6 billion—a large amount, true, but only a fraction of the $8.7 billion
Inslee gave Boeing in tax breaks during a very speedy special session
called in 2013. (That, by the way, was the largest tax break ever given
to any private company by any state, and as it was being handed out
lawmakers and the governor knew they simultaneously needed billions for
education. In other words, they found $8.7 billion for Boeing in a few
days but have spent years not-finding a smaller number of billions for
public schools, even though a decent public education is "the paramount
duty" of our state under the Washington constitution.) According to
today's letter from the governor, the answer to the question of whether
he will call a special session for education right now is no—for now.
No special session (as some lawmakers want) to help out charter
schools now that our state's charter schools law has been found to unconstitutionally use public money
for private schools. (Inslee doesn't support charter schools, anyway.)
And no immediate special session to find the billions he and lawmakers
still need for Washington's public schools.
Inslee does, however, have a "workgroup" of select lawmakers that's
studying up on the whole unconstitutional underfunding of public schools
thing, and how it might be solved, and if that workgroup can "find
consensus" by November 19, when legislators are all
going to be in Olympia anyway for "Assembly Days," then Inslee will call
a special session "to get this work done."
Bottom line: In year three of our outlaw legislature, and day three
of the Seattle teachers strike, Governor Inslee says it'll be months
before he considers calling a special session on education funding.
How come it took so long for this "workgroup" to get going? I guess everyone had a summer vacation.
Upside: something is being done.
Downside: members of the Workgroup include Chad Magendanz who loves charters.
I'm a bit confused because the Governor also says in his letter that AG Ferguson has filed a motion for reconsideration from the Supreme Court (I guess for the ultimate "whoops") with "but at this point we don't yet have a final decision from the Supreme Court." (I think that may mean the Court is waiting for the KC Court to rule and then have a final ruling? Any legal eagles?)
He also says he is glad the charter schools "secured private funding." He also says that "it's important that students' education not be interrupted" and it would be but only at that school. Public schools would take ALL of them in.
Very important from the letter:
I do not believe it is in the best interest of the state to call a special session to attempt to cure the constitutional concerns with the current system. I should also note that I don't believe the McCleary workgroup is the place to debate charter schools. We must deal with the much larger financial, policy and constitutional issues surrounding McCleary.
And he goes on to reiterate his lack of support for charter schools. "That remains my position."
Boo-yah! Good job, Governor - McCleary first.