Public Education Funding

Washington can do better
Washington is spending almost half the state’s budget in education, yet relying — illegally — on local property taxes to fund basic education, which creates further inequity across the state in teacher salaries, school supplies, programming, and ultimately, student success.

In 2012, Washington State Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state has failed its paramount duty “by consistently providing school districts with a level of resources that falls short of the actual costs of the basic education program.” Washington now has a deadline of 2018 to fully fund basic education for all students in all 295 districts across the state.

Basic education prepares students for high school graduation, college, gainful employment and citizenship. It’s the backbone of Washington’s community and future economy. Preparing students is not only our duty — it’s good for Washington. The state needs to take action now to give our kids the best chance for success.

Related Seattle Times Coverage


May 7, 2016

Seattle’s school libraries: a stark example of rich and poor


March 24, 2016

Readers tell us what difference money makes in their schools


March 4, 2016

What does it mean to fully fund education?


Jan. 25, 2016

Hundreds fill Seattle’s Town Hall to talk education and equity


January 7, 2016

Lawmakers: It’s a priority, but we likely won’t figure out education funding this year


January 8, 2016

State lawmakers’ proposal to fix school funding calls for more study


January 8, 2016

Editorial: On state education funding, what’s taking so long?


January 13, 2016

Q&A with Eden Mack, one of parent leaders of Washington’s Paramount Duty group


January 12, 2016

State of the State: Inslee wants money for schools, mental health, wildfires


August 14, 2015

School funding back on table as court fines state $100,000 a day


State of Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

OSPI Graduation and Dropout Statistics Annual Report, April 2015

McCleary v. State of Washington

A Citizen’s Guide to Washington State K-12 Finance

2015 ACT report

Funding Washington Schools website

“Seattle schools have one of nation’s largest equity gaps, new study says,” The Seattle Times, Oct. 7, 2015

“Rainier Beach students call for safer, cheaper ways to get to school,” The Seattle Times, Oct. 15, 2015

Basic education definition:

Washington State Department of Health Birth Table, 2015

Education Lab

Washington Student Achievement Council

Quality Education Council

Washington Association of School Administrators

League of Education Voters

Take Action

Contact your public officials to voice your support for full funding of basic education in Washington state.

Tell your legislator it’s time to make public education funding a priority.

Email Governor Jay Inslee and tell him why you think this issue is important.

Contact your superintendent about your school district’s budget.

Speak out at a public school board meeting about items in the proposed education budget, or email or call your local school board.

Ask a question about the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s plan to fund basic education.

Register to vote, if you haven’t already.

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