State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn is urging the state Supreme Court to reject the Legislature’s $38.2 billion budget deal, arguing lawmakers have again failed in their constitutional duty to fund schools.
The budget package agreed to by Republican and Democratic legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee adds $1.3 billion in new spending on K-12 education, including money to reduce class sizes in grades K-3, expand full-day kindergarten and cover other school costs. It also includes pay raises for teachers and other school employees.
The budget deal approved Monday night was reached after more than 165 days during a third special session of the Legislature, just days ahead of a July 1 government shutdown.
But Dorn wants the state Supreme Court to order lawmakers back into session yet again, arguing the budget deal fails to abide by the court’s 2012 McCleary decision.
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In a statement, Dorn said the budget fails to address the unconstitutional reliance on local levies to fund basic education. In fact, Dorn argues, the budget pact would increase local-levy reliance because it only funds pay raises for state-funded school personnel. That means school districts will have to use levy dollars to provide similar raises to staff supported by local funds.
“Three years after the Court ruled in McCleary vs. Washington, the State of Washington still has no plan to fully fund our schools and end the inequity produced by reliance on local funding,” Dorn said. “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.”