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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

McCleary Mom, Lawyer Say Washington Budget Falls Short On School Funding

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney
Flickr -
File photo. The Washington Supreme Court is likely to decide later this year whether the new budget adequately funds the state's school system.

Despite what state lawmakers say, Washington’s next budget doesn’t fully fund schools. That’s the opinion of the lawyer who sued the state in 2007 over school funding.

Attorney Thomas Ahearne said it’s not enough money and it doesn’t get to the schools fast enough.

“This idea that ‘well, it’s $7.3 billion over four years’—which is less than $2 billion a year—‘that fully satisfies it,’ people who say that did not read the McCleary decision, did not read the McCleary court orders,” he said.

Ahearne said lawmakers should be plowing $5 billion more per year into schools.

Stephanie McCleary, the mom whose name is on the school funding lawsuit, is also disappointed and said she wants the Washington Supreme Court to hold firm.

“I feel a little angst that what if somebody says this is enough, because I don’t feel that it is full compliance based on the court order,” McCleary said.

The case has been going on for a decade. McCleary’s son graduated from high school this year and her daughter from college.

The state Supreme Court is expected to decide later this year whether the new budget funds a constitutional school system.