Washington Governor Jay Inslee must sign the supplemental budget next week. When he does sign it, that action touches off a series of deadlines in the McCleary case.
The Supreme Court is weighing a request from the McCleary plaintiffs. They want the court to assess whether the state legislature made sufficient progress toward full funding for K-12 education during this year’s legislative session.
So the court has ordered the state to present a post-budget report about its plans within 30 days after Inslee signs the budget. The court is giving the McCleary plaintiffs 20 days to respond. And then the state will have 10 days to reply to the arguments made by the plaintiffs.
In its own court filing late last year, the McCleary side says that only one school year, 2016-17, starting this September, remains between the current school year and the 2017-18 school year: the Supreme Court’s deadline for the state to comply in full.
If the court finds that the state did not do enough in this year’s session, the McCleary side is asking for a harsher penalty than the $100,000-a-day fine the Supreme Court ordered last August. The state Legislature completed its recent session without agreeing to pay those fines.
In the November 2015 court filing, the McCleary side is asking the court to consider cancelling school next September by invalidating state school statutes it decides are not amply funded. An alternative would be for the court to suspend the state’s tax exemption statutes. One of the most important tax exemptions in the state is the one that prevents sales taxes from being imposed on food.