McCleary comes to a close: Levy swap prevails, funding now fairer

What a long, strange journey it has been. 11 years after it was filed, the McCleary education funding case wound to a close this week. Since the state Supreme Court first ruled on the case in 2012, it has been the Sword of Damocles dangling over state government. I did not agree with the court’s […]

State tax increases: There’s simply no need

It happens every year: Work in Olympia on the state budget doesn’t really get underway until the revenue forecast comes out. Then, lawmakers have a clearer idea of how much money they have to work with and can set their negotiating strategies. The latest revenue forecast came out Thursday, and it’s all positive news. In […]

2018 Legislature: The “don’t expect too much” session

Gov. Jay Inslee already rolled out his supplemental budget proposal and laid out his legislative priorities for 2018. He wants a carbon tax, and he wants a quick ramp-up of teacher salaries. Legislative leaders…well, they’re not really leaping to embrace Inslee’s agenda. I’m not talking about Republican legislative leaders; there would be nothing surprising about […]

McKenna on KIRO: Is the McCleary case finally over?

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the latest state Supreme Court hearing on the McCleary education funding case that has roiled state government for over five years. Justices asked tough questions of both sides in Tuesday’s hearing. Dave Ross: “The other thing is, critics point out that while the state is providing more […]

Logic prevails: Legislators go with a levy swap

After all that – the years of court hearings, legislative debates, campaign promises and contempt fines – the Legislature’s main McCleary solution is (drumroll please): A levy swap. Hey, that sounds familiar. Not that the ultimate budget package had anything to do with the 2012 campaign. Legislators chose the property tax swap because there is […]

Teachers unions in districts with unusually high pay are feeling nervous

The local teachers union in Everett is threatening to strike. It’s unfortunate to see this type of threat being raised once again, because it really is the kids who lose out when their instructional year is interrupted for picketing. The reason here may not be obvious, because Everett teachers are some of the best-paid in […]

That’s not right: McCleary isn’t a menu to pick and choose from

Many cheered in 2012 when the state Supreme Court issued its K-12 funding ruling in the McCleary case. Today, some of the groups that hailed it at the time seem to be suffering from selective amnesia. The McCleary decision is a three-legged stool, but that message has been lost. The court ruled that K-12 funding […]

State teachers union’s radio ad is one big lie

We’re living in an era of extreme political voices, especially at the national level. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then our state teachers union, the WEA, must be blushing. Ratcheting up the pressure, truth be damned, has been its M.O. for some time now. The group is running newspaper ads and a […]

Teacher shortage? Sort of, but incentive pay could help fix it

That our schools face a teacher shortage is something that has been repeated so often, it’s taken to be true. One new study aimed to quantify the problem. So is there a teacher shortage? Not really. At least, there’s no shortage of teachers generally. But the study did find a dearth of teachers in some […]

On his first day, new state Superintendent picks union over taxpayers

During last fall’s election season, I expressed concern that Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) candidate Chris Reykdal was too close to the state teachers union. He didn’t waste much time confirming it. His first act after being inaugurated this week was to remove his office from an intriguing lawsuit begun by his predecessor regarding school […]