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Gov. Inslee convenes McCleary workgroup, raises possibility of special session

by caprecord

Gov. Jay Inslee is convening a legislative workgroup this month focused on McCleary in an attempt to end the state Supreme Court’s $100,000-a-day fine against the state for being in contempt of the court’s order to fully fund basic education.

If the group can reach agreement by late November — when the Legislature returns to Olympia for Assembly Days — Inslee said in a letter to lawmakers that he will call a special session. Regular session begins in January.

Inslee said the workgroup will focus solely on the McCleary decision, saying it is not the “place to debate charter schools.” The state Supreme Court recently struck down a voter-approved law allowing up to 40 charter schools to operate in the state.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Friday his office would file a motion for reconsideration with the state Supreme Court for the charter school case.

Inslee noted that charter schools will remain open for the school year with private funds, adding that he doesn’t believe a special session is needed to address the charter school law.

“I opposed the initiative that created charter schools because I did not believe that public money belongs in schools that lack public oversight and accountability,” Inslee wrote.

“My focus will remain on basic education,” he said.

The McCleary workgroup will meet Sept. 24 in SeaTac and includes members of the four caucuses, including Sen. Doug Ericksen and Sen. Ann Rivers, Sen. Christine Rolfes, Sen. Andy Billig, Rep. Pat Sullivan, Rep. Kristine Lytton, Rep. Chad Magendanz and Rep. Norma Smith.

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