State Superintendent Dorn's filing.
Interview with Summer Stinson of Washington's Paramount Duty, Rep. Reuven Carlyle and Superintendent Dorn on Q13 yesterday.
Dorn is pushing for all kind of answers including, yes, closing down schools in 2017. (That would give the legislature a whole year - a year - to get this done which, by their own requirements, they should have it all done before school year 2017-2018.)
Carlyle said it's a grown-up problem and that the work "wouldn't get done under threat of closing down schools." I take his implication to mean that would be a childish thing to do and hurt kids and families. Yes, it would and who's real fault would that be?
Now at the WPD's Facebook page, I asked him - don't you think if the legislature got this promise - not a threat - a promise from the Court, they would get the work done. Because I wouldn't care how miffed some in the legislature were with the action, my expectation would be they would get the work done because of the dire consequences.
Or is their pride greater than the kids?
Dorn is also going to be filing a new lawsuit next week over the State allowing districts to use levies for basic education.
end of update
In more McCleary news, the plaintiffs in the McCleary case gave their reply to the State's explanation of what is being done to fulfill the constitutional mandate to amply fund public education in Washington State.
As you can see by the title of this thread, the plaintiffs are both hard-hitting and entertaining. But it's true - if you or your child's teacher told your child a firm deadline for a project with clear expectations about the quality of the work, that might be the reply when your child didn't get it done.
From the filing (red mine):
Plaintiffs do not expect this Court to use the same words. But as the following pages explain, this Court should come to the same conclusion: Despite the 2014 Contempt Order and 2015 Sanctions Order in this case, the State is still not complying with this Court’s rulings.
Court orders and constitutional rights either matter or they don’t. If they do, this Court must effectively compel the State’s full compliance with Article IX, section 1 by the firm 2017-2018 school year deadline.
On the "plan" from the Legislature:
Another problem with continually kicking the can down the road is you eventually run out of road. Which is where the State now is. 2016 was the last legislative session that could produce a complete plan for phasing in the revenue and funding increases needed to reach full Article IX, section 1 compliance by the 2017-2018 school year. But instead of producing that plan, the State’s taking a ride on a frequently used merry-go-round: delay another year by creating another task force. Part V addresses the State’s 2016 ample funding “plan”.
- This Court also emphasized at least one concrete consequence – the looming shortage of 4,000 teachers for the full-day kindergarten and K-3 class size reduction components of the State’s basic education program.
- This Court’s January 2012 decision reiterated that amply funding full-day kindergarten and K-3 class size reduction by the 2017-2018 school year are significant components of the State’s paramount constitutional duty.32 The State’s 2016 filing acknowledges the 2017-2018 school year deadline for these two components.33
Carefully worded assertions in the State’s 2016 filing imply these two components are fully funded. But what the State’s assertions actually mean is State funding formulas will be fully funded.
And that’s an important distinction – for the court rulings in this case establish the State cannot claim a component of basic education is “fully funded” if its funding formula only provides a part of its school districts’ actual cost to provide that component.
- School districts’ continuing inability to pay the compensation needed to attract and retain needed personnel has left them with a substantial shortage of the people required to deliver a quality education.
- The State’s 2016 filing repeatedly says pupil transportation and MSOCs (Materials, Supplies, and Operating Costs) are fully funded. But it also acknowledges that what it instead means is the State’s funding formulas for pupil transportation and MSOCs are fully funded.
The State’s own documents acknowledge the MSOC formula’s funding levels are based on a snapshot of what districts purchased with the unconstitutional underfunding they had in the 2007-2008 school year. This Court has reiterated that when an earlier snapshot does not correlate to constitutionally ample funding today, fully funding that outdated snapshot is not“full funding”.As for levies:
The State suggests that its production of the ample funding phase-in plan this Court mandated most recently in its January 9, 2014 Order is being delayed because the State wants to combine that ample funding plan with politically challenging levy reform. But that’s not an excuse for any delay. This Court’s August 2015 Sanctions Order unequivocally told the State that “Local levy reform is not part of the court’s January 9, 2014 order.”
The “unconstitutional reliance on local levies” noted in this Court’s decision was a rejection of the notion that the State can take credit for local levy dollars as being part of its State funding. It was not a suggestion by this Court that the State could solve school districts’
lack of ample funding with “reforms” that take local levy dollars away and then hand them back calling them State dollars (the so-called “levy swap” or “levy swipe” reform).Then they bring it on home:
Last year, this Court celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is historically significant because it established the principle that the rule of law applies to everyone – even those who run the government.
Plaintiffs appreciate that complying with that constitutional mandate is not easy, cheap, or popular for those who run State government.
But it’s the law.
The real bottom line?
But as noted earlier, this Court has held the State cannot declare “full funding” when its funding formula leaves part of a district’s actual cost unfunded.
Here's what they had to say:
The Magna Carta, Marbury v. Madison and Charlie Brown (from the plaintiffs, page 42) - that makes for interesting reading.
Not only has the State failed to comply with this Court’s lawful orders to rectify the chronic underfunding of Washington’s public schools, it continues to make deliberate decisions to deny Washington’s more than one million public school students their constitutionally guaranteed rights to an education which provides them “the basic knowledge and skills needed to compete in today’s economy and meaningfully participate in this state’s democracy.”
Throughout, the State has maintained that this Court is somehow exceeding its constitutional powers and encroaching upon those of the Legislature. But in fact, this Court would be abandoning its duty and fundamental role as a separate branch of government were it to accede. Further, this Court’s actions in this case are not unique or even unusual, as courts across the country have been tasked with similar questions and reached similar results. Amicus asks the Court to issue an order that unless the State amply funds its public schools as our constitution requires by April 28, 2017, the Court will suspend the State’s tax exemption statutes enacted by the Legislature.
(I will note that charter supporters got upset at the Court for using 100-year old case law and yet Marbury v. Madison is dated 1803 and the Magna Carta is ancient at 800 years old. I guess caselaw is caselaw.)