Washington Supreme Court Issues Order on Retention of Jurisdiction

in NEWS FROM THE ACCESS NETWORK

After holding earlier this year that the State of Washington had not provided “ample” funding for the basic education to which all students are entitled under the state constitution, McCleary v. State, the Washington Supreme Court stated that it would retain jurisdiction of the case in order to monitor the state’s compliance and “remain vigilant in fulfilling the State’s constitutional responsibility.” It asked the parties to submit briefs on the form that on-going jurisdiction should take. On July 18, 2012, the Court issued an order that compels the state to file reports showing the progress it is making towards meeting constitutional compliance in September, 2012 and at the conclusion of each legislative session from 2013 to 2018, and at such other times as the court may order.

Responding to the plaintiffs’ request for an active role in the monitoring process, the Court stated that copies of the reports must be served on the plaintiffs and filed with the court, and that the plaintiffs may file and serve written comments within 30 days of receiving any report. Although the reports will not be expected to show immediate, full constitutional compliance, the court’s review will focus on whether actions taken by the legislature show real and measurable progress toward achieving compliance by 2018. Based on the submissions, the court will determine whether to request additional information, direct further fact-finding by the trial court, appoint a special master, or take other appropriate steps.

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