School funding lawsuit against Bellevue and other districts dismissed

The lawsuit against Bellevue and six other school districts over their use of levy money to pay teacher salaries and other basic education expenses has officially been dismissed.

The case filed by former Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn was dismissed Jan. 18. It targeted the Bellevue School District, as well as the Everett, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Puyallup and Evergreen school districts.

Dorn had contended that it was illegal for districts to use levy dollars to pay for basic education, as proven by the 2012 McCleary decision. However, he also stated that he did not blame the school districts, which he said were lead to use levy dollars by the Legislature.

Most of the districts challenged the lawsuit in King County Superior Court shortly after it was filed in July 2016. They contended that Dorn’s lawsuit would be a waste of time and money while the McCleary case is still being settled.

“Whatever the precise contours of the school funding system that emerges from the McCleary case, it will significantly alter the legal and factual landscape underlying Dorn’s claims, if not moot them entirely,” their motion read.

The new superintendent of public instruction, Chris Reykdal, made the case’s dismissal one of his first actions after taking office earlier this month. Both he and his competitor, Erin Jones, had stated they would not to follow through with the case.

During his visit to the Bellevue Reporter’s office, Gov. Jay Inslee declined to comment on Dorn’s lawsuit, but said that he and Reykdal have a “unified approach moving forward.”

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