Amicus brief to State Supreme Court: New revenue needed to McCleary

Last Monday, August 4, Pacifica Law Group filed an amicus brief with the Washington State Supreme Court on behalf Five-year-old-girl at the library.of the Washington State Budget & Policy Center (WSBPC), making it clear that legislators cannot responsibly address the requirements of the McCleary decision to fully fund education without raising new revenue.

Joining WSBPC as co-signers on the brief are Centerstone, Equity in Education Coalition, Eldercare Alliance, Solid Ground, Statewide Poverty Action Network and students from the University of Washington.

The amicus brief argues that the math doesn’t pencil out when you try to fully fund basic education without new revenue. It details the devastating impact of potential budget cuts on students, low-income families, communities of color, supports for older adults and children, and more.

More than two years after the court’s McCleary ruling was issued, the legislature has largely relied on unsustainable funding to make additional investments in basic education and remains behind schedule in adequately funding education.

For over forty years, Solid Ground has worked to end poverty through delivery of direct services, working to strengthen communities and advocating for public policies to address the causes and impacts of poverty. Every day at Solid Ground, we serve hundreds of families with children. We see firsthand that children need housing, food, medical care, counseling and more in order to achieve in school. When these basic needs go unmet, children have a difficult time staying in school, much less succeeding in school.

The amicus brief recommends that the court encourages the legislature to raise additional revenue that is stable and dependable in order to fully fund basic education. Failing to raise revenue to meet our education funding needs would result in cuts to other areas of the state budget that kids need to thrive. Without stable housing, access to health care and nutritious food, and other supports that create long-term economic security, we simply won’t create better outcomes for all kids in Washington. And isn’t that what McCleary is all about?

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Public education: Show us the money!

When it comes to K-12 education funding in Washington State, now is the time to ask tough questions:

  • Do you know how much we spend per student?
  • Are we falling short?
  • Are we adequately addressing the achievement gap that continues to affect low-income students and students of color?
  • How do we fix our broken funding system?

The Community Forums Network (CFN) is surveying Washington State residents until October 28 to gather public input for policy makers, local media and other stakeholders.

Please take 10-15 minutes to get your voice into the conversation!

To get started, go to the CFN website. Watch the six-minute video that frames the issue, then take the online survey. At the end of the survey you can select Solid Ground to receive points toward earning a grant.

Solid Ground’s Advocacy Director Tony Lee is currently helping build a coalition of groups representing minority communities to advocate for additional resources for programs and strategies to eliminate the achievement gap impacting low-income students and students of color in K-12 education. A question about this strategy is included in the survey.

CFN is dedicated to asking great questions and starting valuable conversations that help our communities move forward. They are making it easier for all of us to dive in and be heard.

Upon completion of its research, CFN will prepare a “Where’s the consensus?” report for local decision makers, media partners and all of us.

“That way we amplify your voice and focus on finding solutions together,” states the CFN website. “In the end, open communication builds stronger communities.”

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