Washington House Republicans: Teachers, students and parents shouldn’t have to worry about schools being shut down


As Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn advocates for possibly closing public schools to force the Legislature to make new funding decisions, and McCleary plaintiffs indicating the option shouldn’t be ruled out, Washington House Republicans are reminding the public they pushed for an amendment that would have ensured public schools stay open and staff would be paid if the state Supreme Court ordered this dramatic action.

Washington House Republicans proposed an amendment to the 2016 supplemental operating budget on Feb. 25 that would have ensured the continued operations of public schools, including compensation for school staff, in the event a judicial ruling ordered their closure or invalidated state appropriations for allocations to school districts. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Matt Manweller, would have allowed the governor to direct the state treasurer to authorize expenditures from the Budget Stabilization Account to public schools for the state’s program of basic education.

The amendment was rejected by House Democrats on a party-line vote.

“We made our intent clear back in February: public schools should stay open and teachers should continue to be paid if the state Supreme Court overreaches and tries to shut down our schools. Fast forward to today, and we now have Randy Dorn and the McCleary plaintiffs suggesting this horrible idea may be needed,” said Manweller, R-Ellensburg. “It’s sad we would even have to plan for such a scenario, but Washington House Republicans didn’t want teachers, students and parents to have to worry about their lives being disrupted due to a far-reaching judicial ruling. With the rejection of the amendment, our state is now left vulnerable.”

“I can’t imagine how unsettling this scenario must be for school administrators, teachers and families. It’s disappointing there are now people and groups out there essentially advocating for this outcome,” said Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, and ranking Republican on the House Education Committee. “We tried to put a solution in place if this problem was created, but it was rejected on a party-line vote. We may regret not adopting this amendment if our state Supreme Court decides to shut down our public schools later this year.”

On April 28, Manweller asked the state Attorney General’s Office to weigh in on the issue of whether teachers and school district staff could still receive compensation in the event the state Supreme Court takes action resulting in the shutdown of public schools. You can find a copy of that letter here.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson submitted the Legislature’s post-budget report to the state Supreme Court on May 18 that requested to lift the contempt order and end the sanctions on the Legislature. On this same day, the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation submitted a report to the state Supreme Court. The plaintiff/respondents submitted a post-budget filing on June 7.

Funding for K-12 education makes up 48 percent of the overall 2015-17 operating budget. Since the original McCleary order in 2012, state funding for K-12 education has increased from $13.4 billion for the 2011-13 biennium to $18.2 billion for the 2015-17 biennium – an increase of $4.8 billion or 36 percent.

State lawmakers also passed a bill this year that reaffirms the Legislature’s commitment to fully fund staff compensation for the 2018 deadline set by the state Supreme Court. Senate Bill 6195 was signed into law and became effective on Feb. 29.

The 2017 legislative session is scheduled to begin on Jan. 9.


For more information about Rep. Magendanz, visit: www.representativechadmagendanz.com.
For more information about Rep. Matt Manweller, visit: www.representativemattmanweller.com

Rep. Magendanz’s media:
official portrait  silent b-roll  photos on Flickr  YouTube videos  podcast
Washington State House Republican Communications
461 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  YouTube  SoundCloud  Flickr  Google Plus  Pinterest The Current (blog)


Washington State House Republican Communications