Statement from State Superintendent of Public Instruction on the new State Budget

Monday, June 29, 2015

Statement on 2015-17 Operating Budget and McCleary Litigation
Randy Dorn, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

“I urge the Court to take whatever steps are necessary to bring the legislature back into session as soon as possible.”

After more than 165 days in session, the Governor and Legislature have failed to meet their paramount duty. I urge the Supreme Court to take whatever steps are necessary to bring the Legislature back into session as soon as possible.

Rather than address the unconstitutional use of levies to fund our schools, their budget actually increases reliance on levies. The budget includes a long overdue cost-of-living adjustment for teachers and other staff, but only for personnel funded by the state. School districts will be forced to use levy dollars to provide similar increases to staff funded with local funds.

And the Legislature has apparently delayed by at least four years the implementation of voter-approved Initiative 1351, which reduces class sizes in grades 4-12 and which is part of the prototypical school model endorsed by the Supreme Court.

This budget is not constitutional.

Moreover, the Legislature has failed to comply with the order from the Supreme Court to produce a complete plan laying out a pathway to full funding of basic education by 2018.

Three years after the Court ruled in McCleary v. Washington, the State of Washington still has no plan to fully fund our schools and end the inequity produced by reliance on local funding.

Senators Dammeier, Rivers, Rolfes and Hargrove should receive high commendations for their efforts to address issues key to McCleary, including the need for additional funding. Unfortunately, their hard work was not addressed in this budget.

This is no longer just a funding issue – it's a civil rights issue. Students lucky enough to live in wealthy neighborhoods are getting a 21st-century education, while schools in other neighborhoods make do with less.

The Governor and Legislature have failed to satisfy the Constitution’s paramount duty. The future of our schools now rests upon what action the Supreme Court will take. I urge the Court to do its duty.



2 comments:

Anonymous,  June 30, 2015 at 5:17 PM  

I'd love to know how many of our legislators were educated in the state public schools...

Anonymous,  July 1, 2015 at 9:11 PM  

I'd love to know what Randy Dorn has been drinking . . .

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