The place to read most responses is the Washington State Courts website. You can read:
- Attorney General Bob Ferguson's response
- Plaintiffs' response (the actual McClearys)
“Every elected official, including me, is required to take an oath of office,” Dorn said. “Part of that oath is, ‘I do solemnly swear that I will support … the Constitution and laws of the state of Washington.’
“Many people don’t understand that our state constitution explicitly mentions one — and only one — paramount duty: that the state ‘make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders,’ and that the system of public schools shall be general and uniform.
“The most recent budget passed by the Legislature doesn’t even come close to that. In fact, it
increases the state’s dependence on local levies, which the Court has ruled is unconstitutional.”
A random survey of 12 districts highlights the problem. State funding for school personnel is less than those employees’ actual salaries. As an example, the state allocated an average of $31,865 per classified employee in the Bellingham School District for 2014–15. But the district paid, on average, $45,119 for each position. That means the district had to make up the difference by paying the additional $13,254, using local levies.
The problem is compounded by the 2015–17 operating budget. The three percent cost-of-living adjustment that legislators approved applies only to the state-funded portion of each employee’s salary. In 2015–16, Bellingham will have to pay an additional $13,651 per classified position ($13,254 times 103 percent).
“Some districts can pass levies a lot more easily than others,” Dorn said. “This is leading to a situation of haves versus have-nots. In other words, some districts are getting a 21st century education, while others are still getting a 20th century education.
“That’s why I’m calling for all 147 legislators to come back together to work on their paramount duty and produce a general and uniform system.”