Gubernatorial candidates take on latest McCleary ruling

The Washington state Supreme court decided earlier this week to keep the $100,000-a-day Washington Legislature contempt sanctions intact, but didn’t dock the Legislature further for failing to fund state’s public school system.

Instead, lawmakers will be once again on the hook to report to the state’s top courts after the 2017 legislative session.

The two candidates for governor, incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican candidate Bill Bryant, released statements about the news taking very different tones.

Here’s what Inslee said about the ruling, “Increasing education funding and improving student outcomes have been significant priorities in the past four years. The state has increased K-12 funding by more than $4.5 billion, including more than $2 billion specifically to fulfill our commitments for full-day kindergarten, smaller class sizes in grades K-3, pupil transportation and for materials, supplies and school operations. The state has met every funding deadline for the phase-in of those increases.”

Inslee added, “The court today affirmed the urgency of finishing the final task this upcoming session by addressing educator compensation. A task force has been taking a deep dive into these very complex issues. The information they gather is crucial as we make choices that will likely have profound impacts on our education system for decades to come. None of us should view this challenge as solely a court-mandated compliance maneuver.”

Bryant, however, was decidedly less optimistic and placed the blame squarely on his opponent.

“Today’s ruling confirms Governor Inslee’s failure to lead on one of the most important decisions facing the state. Governor Inslee promised to fix the state’s education funding with “no excuses” when he ran four years ago. Four years later, he still has no plan and his failure has now cost the state $42 million in fines. Unfortunately, he’s provided nothing but excuses,” Bryant said.



Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or Follow her on Twitter .

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