The Washington State Supreme Court ruled today that the state is not meeting its duty in funding basic education, which has resulted in an undue burden on districts and students.
“Today’s ruling is an important step in the state’s responsibility to fund a basic education for all children,” said Eva Collins, interim schools supt. “Bellevue was among those districts supporting this lawsuit, and I see this ruling as a crucial statement by the court.”
According to the 7-2 decision, the state has failed in its constitutional obligation to “make ample provision for the basic education of all children in Washington.”
The Court recognized the Legislature had enacted “a promising reform package” in 2009 and indicated that legislation, if funded, “will remedy deficiencies in the K-12 funding system.”
The case, filed in King County Superior Court in 2007 by a coalition of teachers, school districts, community groups alleged that the state had failed to fund basic education and relied too heavily on local levy funding.
It was argued before the Washington State Supreme Court on June 28, 2011 by Senior Counsel Bill Clarke.
The Legislature convenes on Jan. 9 and faces a roughly $2 billion shortfall.
This should come as no surprise, said Aaron Wyatt, spokesperson for the state board of education.
“The on-the-ground reality is that districts are using local levy dollars just to make ends meet, and for many districts this is still not enough,” he said.