By Jerry Cornfield
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson today asked the state Supreme Court to give lawmakers some space as they wrestle with the political and budget challenges surrounding school funding.
Ferguson filed a brief (attached) to accompany a report submitted by lawmakers describing their progress to better fund public schools as required by the court in its 2012 McCleary decision.
Lawmakers are candid in their report that they did not do what justices asked them to do this year which was to beef up school funding and map out future investments to ensure basic education is amply funded by a court-imposed deadline of 2018.
Lawmakers explained why they didn’t get the job done and pledged to focus on figuring it out when they reconvene for the 2015 session. Justices will give their response to the report this summer.
Ferguson argued lawmakers honestly tried in the 2014 session and encouraged the court to respond in a manner that will “facilitate, and not complicate” the efforts of lawmakers.
“The Legislature acknowledges the critical role the Court plays in evaluating the constitutional adequacy of its education funding efforts. It understands the Court’s reasons for maintaining pressure to take action to comply with this constitutional vision.
“In that vein, the Legislature continues to move forward, and trusts that the attached Report more fully informs the Court of the complicated political and budget debate that is ongoing in the Capitol on this subject.
“Actions taken in 2015 will be critical in putting the State on target for full compliance by 2018, and the Legislature hopes that the Court’s response to the attached Report will further facilitate, and not complicate, this endeavor, thereby allowing each branch to fulfill its constitutional role.”