Topic: school funding
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September 30, 2013 at 6:25 PM
The state Supreme Court should, at minimum, sternly warn state legislators that they will face sanctions if they don’t ramp up public school funding more rapidly than they did this year, the plaintiffs in the successful school-funding lawsuit said today.
The plaintiffs — a group known as the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools (NEWS) — made that request in a legal brief to the court, part of the court’s ongoing monitoring of the lawsuit, which is known as the McCleary case after the lead plaintiff.
In that case, the justices ruled that the Legislature is violating the state’s constitution by failing to provide ample funding for public education. The court gave lawmakers a 2018 deadline to pay for programs and services estimated to cost $3 billion to $4 billion per biennium.
Many critics, including the NEWS group, have argued that the state is not making enough progress toward that goal, adding at most $1 billion a year in the 2013-15 budget and, NEWS argues, less than that if budget cuts are counted.
In its brief, NEWS urged the court to do more than cheer for a better result next year.
“Is a constitutional right a real right, or just a nice sounding platitude,” the brief said. “Must elected officials obey the constitution, or are they above it?”
March 14, 2013 at 1:50 PM
Seattle Public Schools today announced a freeze on non-critical hiring and spending, saying the chance the district will get significant new state funding is uncertain.
Without that new funding, the district says it anticipates a shortfall of $18 million in the 2013-14 school year between expected revenues and expenses. In a news release, officials say they expect the freeze to save at least $2.5 million.
The release quotes Duggan Harman, assistant superintendent of business and finance, who says:
“We are hopeful that the legislature follows the recent Supreme Court order and funds the K-12 increases it has previously committed to. If this happens, the path to a balanced budget becomes clearer.”
One of the biggest issues in Olympia this session is how to handle last year’s decision by Washington’s Supreme Court, which said legislators are failing to live up to the state Constitution’s mandate to amply fund public education. There is a wide range of opinion, however, about how much more money is required .
The district said that “critical” positions needed for safety or classroom instruction will be exempt from the freeze.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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