Education advocates and state officials will be squaring off shortly as the statewide education funding lawsuit reaches the state Supreme Court today, June 28.
To listen to the case on TVW, click here.
The case centers on allegations that the state isn’t living up to the constitution in “amply funding” basic education. The argument is that if school districts want to keep up with technology, curriculum, and educate students to the standards of the 21st century, then the state needs to provide more funding. Currently many school districts rely on local maintenance and operations levies to make up about 20 percent of their operating budget, allowing them to purchase things like new computers and textbooks and keep class sizes smaller. School districts that can’t pass local levies may have outdated text books, aging computers and other small building maintenance issues that get out of hand.
The case, McCleary v. State, was originally filed by the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools in 2007. A King Count Superior Court judge ruled in 2009 that the state was not following the constitution and making its “paramount duty” to fund education. The state appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court. Exactly when the Supreme Court will announce its decision is unknown.
Below is a small piece by Donna Gordon Blakenship for the Associated Press. To read a longer piece that ran over the weekend, click here.
The Washington Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit filed against the state by a coalition of school districts, teachers and community groups who say the state is failing in its constitutional duty toward public school children.
A superior court judge ruled in February 2010 that the state is not fully paying for basic education. The state has appealed.
Washington uses sales, business and state property taxes to pay about 72 percent of what it costs to educate Washington’s 1 million school children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Another 16 percent comes from local levies and 9 percent comes from federal dollars, primarily for education of special-needs children.
About 41 percent of the state’s general fund is allocated for K-12 public education.
Several Whatcom County school districts and groups are part of NEWS, a coalition of 364 education groups.