Dorn Statement on 2015-17 Operating Budget and McCleary Litigation
“I urge the Court to take whatever steps are necessary to bring the legislature back into session as soon as possible.”
OLYMPIA — June 29, 2015 — 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.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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