WA State Supreme Court Fines Legislature over McCleary

Update: KPLU's story.

Kyle Stokes of KPLU is reporting that the Washington State Supreme Court is fining the Legislature $100,000 a day for not fulfilling McCleary.  This from a tweet; more details to come.

Update: He says that the $100k a day fine will go into an account for public education needs.

Further, the Court is urging Governor Inslee to reconvene the Legislature in yet another Special Session.

Stokes reports Court as saying, "further promises but no concrete plans."

The News Tribune is tweeting that by the time the Legislature would reconvene at its regular schedule in 2016, the fines would be at $3M.


Anonymous said…
Ruling says $100K per day !!!

The Washington state Supreme Court Thursday delivered a unanimous order sanctioning the state for failing to come up with a plan to fully fund K-12 education per the court’s 2012 McCleary decision. It includes a fine of $100,000 per day.

Anonymous said…
and the link to the order is here


Anonymous said…
More than a tweet, it's being picked up by news services...

Anonymous said…
The court's solution was to fine the state taxpayers? Wait, what?

That seems like a little bit of circular budget logic.

Not to mention, 100K per day, how long to fund 1351? Only about 100 years. Probably should have been a million per day at minimum.

Patrick said…
If the Legislature is fined, where does the money actually come from? The Legislature's budget for staff and salaries and paper? Or the state general fund?
Anonymous said…
From the Times article, "And justices questioned whether lawmakers provided enough money to pay for the classrooms necessary to implement lower class sizes and all-day kindergarten."

Is this real or make believe?

The constitution requires the state to provide buildings? I thought buildings were a local responsibility and the state was just doing a good deed to add money.

dan dempsey said…

Thanks for the link to the Court order. Perhaps many of those making comments at the Seattle Times should learn what the court actually said.
Anonymous said…
There's 22 weeks between now and the start of the next (regularly scheduled) legislative session.

22 weeks X 7 days/week = 154 days. Call it 150 days so that we're using round numbers.

150 days X $100,000/day = $15 million

Not exactly chump change, but only a drop in the bucket compared to the needs that have to be addressed.

Still, it's a powerful symbol that should grab the attention of the entire legislature!

Math Guy
dan dempsey said…
Hey Math Guy,

Cost benefit analysis ....

I wonder how much it costs to hold a special session of the legislature? Since we just had two 30-day special sessions, how much did those cost?

Perhaps it is cheaper to pay the $15 million into a special fund to be used for schools and wait for the next regular session than spend on another special session.
Eric B said…
2012 cost nearly $300K for 31 days: http://nwnewsnetwork.org/post/special-session-looms-5-things-know-about-washington-legislature

That's still nowhere near $15M, but that doesn't mean that it's not easier for legislators to just stay home and let the fines rack up. I'm in favor of justices laying down jail time for contempt, but that's just frustration with the Olympia process.
Anonymous said…
FYI, not sure, but it's possible the fines only rack up on business days. So 22 X 5, give or take a few holidays.

But I could be wrong - it's been a long time since I drafted a motion asking for contempt and had to look all this stuff up and I'm not as motivated as Eric B to check!

(Although not averse to detention, in agreement with Eric B on that one).

And there is a way to technically reduce class sizes without bringing the impossible zillions of new classrooms on line in Seattle: 2 teachers per class. 30 kids with 2 teachers full time in the room = 15 to 1. And that's probably better than 28 kids with one teacher ... I see a lot of ways doubling up with teachers in one room could be used creatively. For instance, half the kids in room A and half from room B could do PE together. At that time, teacher A1 and teacher B1 could stay in their rooms with the other half, doing small group stuff, and teachers A2 and B2 get their contractually mandated break. Then it switches, and the PE kids come back with teacher 2 for small group stuff, teachers 1 go on break, and kids 1 have PE. You can have some parts of the day - reading, for instance - occur in groups in the class with 2 teachers to circulate, which is way more helpful than only 1 circulating. Two full time teachers per big class is much better than only 1, if handled well. So even without additional rooms (which we do need but can't get on line very fast), SPS certainly should jump up and down to get more teachers and double them up in bigger classes.


Math Counts
Math Counts, I agree with your assessment of 2 teachers in a classroom. It can work and is certainly cheaper than building on.
Lynn said…
The court says the state has to pay for the facilities needed for all day kindergarten and reduced class sizes. (I've got no idea where we could put those new classrooms.)
Anonymous said…
At least in high schools an idea occasionally tossed around is having 1-2 extra periods per day to minimize overcrowding and building on costs AND to help with the 24 credit graduation requirement coming. Students who need to sleep in or who work late can go to periods 2-7 or even 3-8. Those with early afternoon sports or jobs can still do 1-6. Of course, some students who fail a few classes could work through 1-7 to graduate on time. (right now many do online credit recovery but it is not always a good idea for some). Teachers would also teach either 1 -6 or 2-7 BTW.

seattle citizen said…
JR, in the scenario you present, some students periods 3-8, some 2-7, etc, you still have ALL students in building 4-6. That doesn't alleviate crowding.
Anonymous said…
The court needs to sequester the budget, including tax breaks. 5% cut to all state budgets and 5% cut to all tax breaks.

If the legislature can't figure out where to find the money, a straight percentage across the board is the only solution.

Anonymous said…
JR wrote " (right now many do online credit recovery but it is not always a good idea for some)."

I don't know about the quality of credit recovery here: but in Michelle Rhee's DC credit recovery required very little effort or learning to recover credits.

Oh the joys of our one-size fits-all diploma combined with credit recovery.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Dan, in Seattle the current online credit recovery program actually seems reasonable in terms of the amount of work it requires (which is why so many do not complete it - it requires some self-motivation which is why "it is not always a good idea"). Yes, some students complete courses in about 45-50 hours (vs 90 hour seat-time semester) when they rush through them, but at least that's partially due to the fact that they did learn some the 1st time taking the course even when they failed.

That said, the risk you mention exists. Six years ago in Federal Way math packets (a set of 12) were being handed out to earn math credits and they required so little effort that some students reportedly blew threw them in a single cram day (or single week if just doing them after school). I was told (admittedly 2nd hand) that some teachers refused to participate (admin pressure was concern about the low graduation rate) out of the lack of professionalism of such an easy credit and concern it would incentivize blowing off regular math classes because you could crank through a packet. I had a couple students in my program drop me to go do the packets because it was easier, which is why I asked a teacher friend who gave me the 2nd hand story.

I wasn't aware of the Rhee DC issue but it's no surprise.

Ms206 said…
Washington needs full-time a legislature!

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