Democrats and Republicans in Olympia still divided on education funding

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Just days before the start of the legislative session, Democrats and Republicans remain clearly divided over how to accomplish their main task this year: compliance with a court mandate for the state to fulfill its constitutional requirement to properly fund basic education.

At Wednesday's penultimate meeting of the Education Funding Task Force, Democrats and Republicans presented their recommendations separately, as opposed to a bipartisan plan to discuss with their respective caucuses.

The task force is set to meet one more time on Monday morning, just hours before the 105-day legislative session convenes.

Lawmakers are working to comply with a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling that they must fully fund the state's basic education system. Lawmakers have already put more than $2 billion toward the issue since the ruling, but the biggest piece remaining of the court order is figuring out how much the state must provide for teacher salaries.