Changes to the way schools are funded was implemented by the Washington State legislature in 2018, following the state Supreme Court ruling that Washington had not been meeting its paramount duty to fully fund basic education for decades.
While the new legislation resulted in an increase of state funding to education, the ability for districts to fund education locally was dramatically reduced, resulting in significant financial challenges for many school districts. Without additional legislative changes, district leaders are bracing for cuts to staff and programs in the coming years in order to maintain financial viability.
The new legislation also left big gaps in funding for special education, school counselors, nurses, and other critical services and has caused significant inequities among school districts (even neighboring school districts) across the state.
While the funding cap to local levies was raised from $1.50 to $2.50 in 2019, districts are still grappling with local funding limits and less undesignated funding for general operating expenses.