Tuesday, June 13, 2017

McCleary Updates - Where Are We?

From Washington's Paramount Duty:
Washington's Paramount Duty would like to congratulate Carter McCleary on his recent graduation from high school. McCleary was in *second grade* when his family filed the lawsuit that now bears their names, and led to the Supreme Court ruling requiring the state to fully and amply fund public education. 

Think about that. 2nd grade to high school graduation. And remember that the next time you hear a legislator make excuses for failing to comply with a court order to fund our public schools. Because this isn't about a court - it's about kids like Carter McCleary.
An interesting article, Why a $67 million fine isn't motivating the Legislature to act,

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article155432304.html#storylink=cpy
from The News Tribune:
A 2014 contempt finding wasn’t enough to spur lawmakers into action. A year later, the court upped the ante with the daily fine. 

Now, the court is threatening more serious sanctions if lawmakers can’t agree on a McCleary solution by the time they adjourn this year. Those sanctions could include shutting down the state’s school system or striking down billions of dollars in tax breaks the Legislature has approved in the past.
Tom Ahearne, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the McCleary case, said one reason the fine isn’t pushing the Legislature to finish the job is because lawmakers don’t consider it to be that much money. This year’s legislative budget proposals would spend $43-45 billion over the next two years, with about half that money going to K-12 schools.

“Why that isn’t motivating legislators is one, it is a relatively small number in the big budget,” Ahearne said. “Two, legislators aren’t paying it themselves, so they don’t really care.”

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article155432304.html#storylink=cpy
The second Special Session seems to be headed towards a close without this work finished.  The Governor had this to say (from Crosscut):
If the Washington Legislature’s sluggish budget talks drag beyond June 30, Gov. Jay Inslee will block any move to use stop-gap legislation to keep the government open in July.

Inslee does not want to call for a third 30-day special session for the budget talks when the current special session ends June 21. However, the negotiations could go until June 27 or June 28 in order to get a 2017-2019 biennial budget passed by June 30.
Realistically, Inslee would have to approve a third special session for late June if lawmakers aren’t done June 21.
I'm hoping the Governor does not call a third special session if there is not a budget coming that just needs a few tweaks left.

Because one leverage point is that if the State goes into a partial shut-down that means that state parks will be closed for 4th of July.  Citizens who have reservations and plans will find the gates locked.  Businesses expecting to do a great business for that holiday will find fewer people.  And our legislators should hear about the unhappiness that will cause.

Another action the Governor could take is refuse to sign anything until he sees a budget on his desk.

Governor Inslee is also asking for your help via a video:
Legislators still haven’t gotten the job done for our students and teachers. So this week I’m launching a two day tour all across Washington with a simple question for parents and educators: what would you do if you had increased school funding? Let me know whats on your list with #OurSchoolList and stay tuned for updates from the road.
It is not just a Puget Sound issue; Walla Walla saw a march on Saturday that shut down their main street for a short period of time last Saturday. 
As expected, the event drew in numerous educators, but there were also a large number of participants like Amy Repoff, a nurse, who felt strongly that underfunded schools deprive children of opportunities.
At the end of the two-block line was longtime demonstrator Beth Call, who is known for attending most every progressive demonstration in Walla Walla and for her 1989 Honda Civic that has almost as many liberal stickers on the back as her age of 71.
“I think of education as the heart of success of our society,” Call said, as she kept up with the line. “ ... I think this is the most important investment we make as a society and we have to realize how important schools and teachers are.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you ready for Democrats to cave and approve a big property tax hike? Because that's what's about to happen. Madness.

Guinness

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this update MW. One of my kids is doing a report on WA State funding of education for their middle school WA State History class, which counts towards HS credit.

There have been almost daily updates on McCleary, and important lessons on how our state government works. Amazing to think that this family has persevered for such a long time in a fight that benefits all of our children. Invaluable.

Thank you to the McCleary's and each of you who take a moment or three or more to lift the load and advocate on behalf of all of our kids.

-StepJ

Another View said...

When McCleary is finally fulfilled, people won't be happy- I guarantee.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Another View, McCleary is not going to be the happy place that some imagine; that is true. But it will help and frankly, it needs to get done. That's really the point.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this suggestion that the Governor should refuse to sign any bills until he gets a budget or gets a budget with progressive revenue or...

You do know that's not a threat or leverage point, right?

In our state, if the governor doesn't sign a bill, it automatically becomes law. In other words, he doesn't have to sign.

Capitol Bill

Outsider said...

For some interesting background:
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/statistics/state-and-local-general-expenditures-capita

This group claims to have aggregated all state and local expenditure for each state and put it on a per-capita basis for comparison. It seems to be sponsored by Brookings and the Urban Institute, so it's a neo-liberal rather than right-wing outfit. Their numbers (most recent is 2014) say: Washington ranks 20 out of 50 states and DC on per-capita state and local government spending; and ranks 24 on per-capital spending on primary and secondary education. So middling overall and the state is not any sort of Scroogy dystopia of missing government or threadbare schools.

Washington ranks 37th on percent of total government spending that goes to primary and secondary education, but the spread is not huge. In Washington it was 20.1% vs. 21.7% for the US as a whole. So the legislature just needs to move 1.6% of the budget (around $750 million over two years) to education from other programs and we will be average.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sure Capitol Bill, but it takes longer.

Yes, and "average" is what we should all aim for.

Grouchy Parent said...

Am I the only one that finds it sad that every time Melissa writes a post about a tiny program like HCC (3,613 students), comments flood in, but whenever she writes about something like McCleary, which affects all 53,000 students in the district, there are hardly any comments?

The state is being fined $100,000 a day. The legislature is busy not giving a flying F about Washington's children. The courts may shut down every public school in the state. And I'm comment 8? Do we really only care about those 3,613? What about the other 50,000 kids?