More details will be forthcoming, but Associated Press just reported that a judge ruled today the state of Washington is not meeting its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education. That may not surprise anyone, but the big question will be how the state will respond. In the 1970s another judge made the same ruling, one outcome of which was that local property taxes went down significantly. In a meeting with the editorial board yesterday, representatives of the state Board of Education noted that more than $2 billion in local special levy money now goes to pay for schools and much of what that money provides is unarguably part of basic education. As in the '70s, local taxpayers are paying extra to underwrite what is the state's paramount constitutional responsibility. Not likely that we'll see the state step in and relieve that local tax burden anytime soon, not with the economic difficulties that already challenge Olympia. But it will be fascinating to see how (or if) they respond to this court ruling in a way that lasts. Obviously the 1970s fix didn't.
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