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Dorn: Court Must Impose Tough Sanctions on State
On May 11, the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation released its draft report detailing how the State is progressing on meeting its obligation to fully fund basic education. Below is a statement from Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn on the draft report.

OLYMPIA — May 16, 2016 — This is the fifth report issued by the Committee. Like the other four, this report contains very little substance.

The Committee believes that much progress has been made to this point and that it has a roadmap for future success. In the draft report, the Committee states, “The 2016 Legislature enacted the plan requested by the Court to describe how the State will address remaining elements of ESHB 2261 and the Article IX duty by the statutory due date.”

That is untrue. The Committee is referring to legislation passed in 2016, Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6195. But that bill isn’t a plan itself. It creates a task force that will produce a plan. In other words, it’s a plan to plan to fund basic education.

Second, the Committee’s draft report fails to account for another key Supreme Court directive. In January 2014, the Court told the Legislature to produce “a complete plan for fully implementing its program of basic education for each school year between now and the 2017-18 school year.” To be “complete” any plan must be specific in regards to funding. The state cannot continue to promise to fully fund our schools without actually addressing the issue of how to pay for doing that.

The Committee also claims that the state is moving toward eliminating school district dependency on local levies. As evidence, the Committee cites the 2016 supplemental operating budget. Section 515 requires that, by April 30, 2017, the task force determine whether the state has essentially met its obligations with respect to salaries and levies, or to introduce legislation to extend the so-called “levy cliff” for at least a year.

In other words: They either solve the problem, or they kick the can for another year.

The problem is that too many of our students have been waiting – for years and years.

It is obvious that the $100,000-a-day fine imposed by the Supreme Court is not producing adequate movement on funding. I will be filing a friend-of-the-court brief soon with the Court, in which I will ask for even tougher sanctions, possibly against specific lawmakers, to coerce them once and for all to come up with the plan the Court ordered.

To use a simple analogy: Concerning basic education funding, the state has run the first 10 miles of a marathon. Now they need to run the last 16.2 miles.

 

About OSPI
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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CONTACT:
Nathan Olson
Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015 | nathan.olson@k12.wa.us

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015

 

   Updated 5/16/2016

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