The following is a statement from State Superintendent Randy Dorn on End of Special Session
“The Legislature recognizes, as does the Court, that the remaining enhancement targets must be met by the statutory implementation date of 2018, which means that the pace of implementation must increase. For this reason, the upcoming biennial budget developed in the 2015 legislative session must address how the targets will be met…2015 is the next and most critical year for the Legislature to reach the grand agreement needed to meet the state's Article IX duty by the statutorily scheduled full implementation date of 2018. “
- Report from the Legislature to the Supreme Court, May 1, 2014
OLYMPIA — May 28, 2015 — Thirteen months ago, the Legislature promised the Supreme Court and the people of the state of Washington that 2015 would be the year of the grand agreement on education funding. After 135 days of a regular and special legislative session, there has been virtually no movement on this issue.
Near the end of the regular session, bills were introduced in the Senate that would have made real progress toward full funding of basic education, but none of those bills have been acted on.
The second special session is the moment of truth. Will the Legislature do the right thing, or risk a constitutional showdown with the Supreme Court?
Legally, at a minimum, the Legislature must adopt a complete plan showing year by year how the state will fully fund the following:
- The elements of House Bill 2776: full-day kindergarten; materials, supplies and operating costs; student transportation; and reduced class sizes in grades K-3.
- 100% of the compensation for all staff who help provide a basic education.
- And reduced class sizes in grades 4-12, and other staffing enhancements included in the Prototypical School Model originally set forth in the Picus and Odden report which the court referenced in the McCleary decision, unless they adopt an education policy rationale explaining why they wish to deviate from that model.
In my opinion, anything less will invite sanctions from the Court.
In addition, I believe the Legislature needs to ensure that the budget they pass does no harm to school districts by increasing their reliance on levies. And they need to pass legislation to prevent the unconstitutional use of levies to fund compensation for basic education services. If they don’t act now, local bargaining over levy funds will continue, digging the hole deeper in terms of the levels of compensation the State will eventually become responsible for.
I again urge the Legislature to consult the plans that Treasurer McIntire and I presented during the regular session. Together, they provide a road map toward a fully funded school system.
As a former legislator, I know these issues are politically difficult. But gridlock is not an option. Today, kids receive different levels of education depending on the local funding available to their schools. This is wrong, and blatantly unconstitutional.
I remember a day when courageous members of both parties would put aside their differences and do the right thing for the students of the great state of Washington. It is time for this generation of lawmakers to step up and become leaders.
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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