Inslee Scolds Legislature On School Funding, But Cautions Court On Sanctions

Sep 4, 2014

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the legislature has not “acted appropriately” in the face of the McCleary decision on school funding. But he cautioned the state Supreme Court Thursday not to impose sanctions that would penalize other areas of state government. The governor’s comments came one day after the high court held a hearing to consider whether to hold the state in contempt. 


Washington Governor Jay Inslee speaks to reporters at a Capitol news conference. The Democrat says it’s “entirely appropriate” for the Supreme Court to highlight the seriousness of the state’s school funding crisis, but he cautions against sanctions that might curtail funding to vulnerable citizens.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Inslee invoked his own grandson who started kindergarten this week.

"It’s painful to think that the legislature has not produced a funding formula that will help his generation fulfill that great promise of these young students,” Inslee said.

The Washington Supreme Court is considering whether to sanction the state for not complying with its 2012 ruling on school funding. Inslee says it’s “entirely appropriate” for the court to highlight the seriousness of the situation. But he cautioned against court-ordered penalties that could shut down state government or restrict non-education spending.

“I don’t want to see anything come from this litigation as we’re working through it that diminishes the state’s ability to take care of people with mental illnesses, or people with health care problems,” Inslee said.

Inslee adds that “significant” new revenues will be needed to fully fund schools. The Democrat reiterated his call for the legislature to close tax exemptions when it convenes in January.

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