The 2017 legislative session presents the last opportunity for complying with the State's paramount duty under article IX, seciton 1, by 2018. What remains to be done to achieve compliance is undeniably huge, but it is not undefinable.
Basically the Court is saying to the State:
- this has gone on long enough
- we don't know which 2018 date you mean
- you will come before us on September 7, 2016 with the following:
1. what remains to be done to timely achieve constitutional compliance
2. how much it is expected to cost*
3. how the State intends to fund it
4. what significance, if any, the court should attach to E2SSB 6195 in determining compliance with the court's order to provide a complete plan.
The Court also wants to know this:
whether the State views the 2018 deadline as referring to the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, to the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, to the end of 2018 or to some other date;
They go onto say that it's been 7 years since the first law (ESHB 2261) and 6 years since the other law (SHB 2776) and
"...the State can certainly set out for the court and the people of Washington the detailed steps it must take to accomplish its goals by the end of the next legislative session.
...including, but not limited to, the costs of materials, supplies, and operating costs; transportation; and reduced class sizes for kindergarten through third grade and all-day kindergarten, with the costs of reduced class sizes and all-day kindergarten to include the estimated capital costs necessary to fully implement those components and necessary level of staffing,
...the estimated cost of full state funding of competitive market-rate basic education staff salaries, including the costs of recruiting and retaining competent staff and professional development of instructional staff
...the components of basic education, if any, the State has fully funded in light of the costs specified above;
all of the above plus
how the State intends to meet its constitutional obligation to implement its plan of basic education through dependable and regular revenue sources by that deadline
Any additional information that will demonstrate to the court how the State will fully comply with article IX, section 1 by 2018.
They say the State can submit a reply to the Court and that needs to be there by August 22. The plaintiffs then have until August 29th and the State gets one more shot by September 2nd. Any amicus briefs must be filed by August 3rd.
A decision on whether to dismiss the contempt order or to continue sanctions will be determined by order following the hearing.