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Inslee Scolds Legislature On School Funding But Cautions Court On Sanctions

Rachel La Corte
AP Photo
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee talks to reporters about how the state needs to address education funding, on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, in Olympia, Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee says the Legislature has not “acted appropriately” in the face of the McCleary decision on school funding. But he cautioned the state Supreme Court Thursday not to impose sanctions that would penalize other areas of state government.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol the day after the high court held a hearing to consider whether to hold the state in contempt, Inslee invoked his own grandson who started kindergarten this week.

“It’s painful to think that the Legislature has not produced a funding formula that will help his generation fulfill that great promise of these young students,” he said.

The Washington Supreme Court isconsidering whether to sanction the state for not complying with its 2012 ruling on school funding. Inslee said it’s “entirely appropriate” for the court to highlight the seriousness of the situation. But he cautioned against court-ordered penalties that could shut down state government or restrict non-education spending.

“I don’t want to see anything come from this litigation as we’re working through it that diminishes the state’s ability to take care of people with mental illnesses, or people with health care problems,” the governor said.

Inslee added that “significant” new revenues will be needed to fully fund schools. The Democrat reiterated his call for the legislature to close tax exemptions when it convenes in January.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.