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February 04, 2010
Judge holds Legislature to the promise of education funding reform

OLYMPIA — A King County Superior Court judge today ruled the state does not provide ample funding for basic education then directed the Legislature to establish the cost of providing all Washington children with a basic education and establish how it will fully fund such education with stable and dependable state sources.

In his oral ruling this morning in McCleary v. State, also known as the “Basic Education case,” King County Superior Court Judge John Erlick also indicated the state’s 2009 education funding measure (HB 2261) could be a means to satisfy this direction. The court e-mailed the entire 73-page ruling to counsel immediately following the hearing.

“Judge Erlick rightly recognizes in his ruling the Legislature’s authority to set education funding policy,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna. “The Legislature took positive steps with its 2009 education funding reform efforts, and we understand the decision to suggest those reforms could be the basis for progress in this case.

"My legal team will review the specifics of this complex decision with our state clients to determine appropriate next steps,” McKenna said.

The case brought by a coalition of Washington  teachers, school districts, community groups and parents in January 2007 alleged Washington had not fulfilled its Constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education and relied too heavily on local levy funding assistance.

The deadline for appeal will be 30 days after the entry of the judgment. 


Media contacts:
Janelle Guthrie, AGO Communications Director, (360) 586-0725

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