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Government and Politics
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 Lawyer: 'Not A Lot Of Confidence' Final Budget Will Solve School Funding

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Austin Jenkins
/
Northwest News Network

Washington state Senate Republicans and House Democrats are at loggerheads over how to fund schools. Republicans want to replace local school levies with a new state property tax levy. Democrats want a new capital gains tax to generate more money for schools.

Tom Ahearne, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the McCleary school funding case, said neither plan will create an amply funded K-12 system. ??

"I do not have a lot of confidence that whatever budget the legislature ends up in their compromise delivering to the governor and the governor signs is going to be enough,” Ahearne said. “I’m hoping I’m wrong.”

The state of Washington is already in contempt of court and accruing a $100,000-per-day fine for not complying with the state Supreme Court. The state has until September of 2018 to comply or face further sanctions.

Once the governor does sign a budget, the Court will have the final say on whether it does enough for public schools.