State Supreme Court orders lawmakers to explain why they should not be held in contempt on school funding

The Court’s has long signaled its impatience with the legislature’s slow progress toward meeting the McCleary obligation to fund basic education. Wait until next year wasn’t going to work again. Yesterday’s action – an order to appear at a show cause hearing – steps up the pressure. The state’s response to the order is to be filed by July 11. Oral arguments will be heard September 3.

The Olympian has a response from the House budget chair.

“I think that the court is quite appropriately applying pressure on the Legislature to meet our constitutional obligation,” said Rep. Ross Hunter, a budget writer and Democrat from Medina who sees a need for as much as a $6.8-billion infusion into schools to address the 2012 court decision that found lawmakers have inadequately funded schools.

The AP story cites a different estimate of costs.
As much as $2.5 billion, by legislative estimates, will need to be added to the education budget to meet the obligations lawmakers have already identified for improving basic education and paying for it.
However you slice it, compliance will be expensive. The Court recited a list of steps the group pressing the case has suggested should the state be found in contempt, including monetary sanctions, prohibiting spending on other matters until education is funded, ordering the sale of state property, and “prohibiting any funding of an unconstitutional education system.”

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