Gov. Jay Inslee signed a two-year operating budget this past Friday night that addresses a court order for the state to fully fund basic education.
The new $43.7-billion budget was pushed through the Legislature by Washington lawmakers in less than a day to avoid a partial governmental shutdown that would have occurred at midnight on Friday. The budget increases spending for public schools, mental health and state worker contracts, but also raises statewide property taxes.
“This budget, at long last, meets our constitutional obligations to fully fund basic education, and addresses the responsibilities we have under the McCleary decision to equitably fund our schools,” Inslee said.
Spending on K-12 public schools will be increased by $1.8 billion in the next two years. The increases abides by the state Supreme Court’s 2012 court ruling, the McCleary Decision, which found the state was failing to fully fund the state’s school system. It also shifts school districts away from relying on local levy money to pay for basic education costs like teacher salaries, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.
Statewide property taxes will increase to $2.70 per $1,000, an 82-cent increase per $1,000 in assessed value.