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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Two Court Cases May Spur Legistature To Fund Education Realistically

Interesting front page story in the PI this morning about another case about education funding in Washington State.

"A King County judge ruled Friday that the way the state doles out salary money to school districts is uneven and unconstitutional, potentially forcing the Legislature to revamp how it funds education -- and giving a boost to the movement to increase school funding in the state."

As many of you may know our funding system is based from 1977 parameters and obviously, things have changed since then.

"The Federal Way lawsuit, filed a year ago, maintained that there are serious disparities in how the state reimburses school districts for salaries. Some districts are allotted higher salaries for staff positions, while neighboring districts inexplicably received lower amounts for the same positions.

Unlike another pending lawsuit over education funding, the Federal Way case doesn't challenge whether the state is providing enough money, but claimed that its distribution is unfair."

And this from the judge's ruling:

"Under the state's current education funding system, schools receive salary money "based upon a discredited and unconstitutionally funded system of 30 years ago," Judge Michael Heavey noted in his ruling. "There is no rational reason to continue this."

Thank you Judge Heavey.

8 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

So let me get this straight, the State is getting sued for having an inequitable school salary scheme. The state is getting sued, but the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction tell the press that they agree with the people bringing suit.

From the story in the P-I:

"Spokesmen for Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Superintendent Terry Bergeson emphasized the state had increased education funding last year and is making progress toward distributing money to districts in an equitable way.

It will take time to resolve the salary equality issue, Gregoire spokesman Lloyd Brown said. "But we feel like we're on the right track and moving in the right direction.
"

Should they be doing that? Should they be speaking out on the side of the people who are suing the state?

Here's another question: if the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction agree with the people who are bringing suit against the state, then why is the State going to appeal the decision? Why, in fact, didn't they capitulate at the start?

Anonymous said...

Because the LEGISLATURE controls funding, not the Gov. or OSPI.

And because it is better to give the "we are trying to fix it" sound bite rather than try to defend a system is that is aribitaray.

Charlie Mas said...

I see. Since the legislature controls funding, it's okay for the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to support the suit against the State.

Since the attorney general determines how aggressively the State defends itself and how, it is okay for the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to support the suit against the State.

So the working principle here is that so long as someone else within the institution controls the decision, it is okay to support litigation against the institution you are charged with leading. Have I got that right?

Anonymous said...

I don't think either of the quotes above indicate that the Gov. or OSPI supported the suit, rather that they acknowledge they lost, but were already working on it.

Charlie, I do have to point out that the above post seems awfull contrary to your staunch defense of Sally Soriano violating the School Board's ethics policy to support a lawsuit against the School Board that she is a sitting member of.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm just curious about the rules - when it is and isn't okay to support a lawsuit against the institution you lead. I'm not saying that what the Governor or the Superintendent of Public Instruction are saying is right or wrong; I'm just noting the similarity to other, more local events.

For example, following the DUI arrest of a County Councilmember and a candidate for the Seattle City Council, a lot of folks were saying that anyone who has a DUI should not hold public office. I don't know if the people saying that are all aware that both the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States have DUI convictions in their past.

Anonymous said...

You are missing the point, you are the only person who reads the quotes you included as "the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction tell[ing] the press that they agree with the people bringing suit."

In turn, no one disputes that Sally supported a suit against the School Board.

It is never okay to violate an ethics code just because it suit your polical aims.

Charlie Mas said...

Is there any dispute about whether Mary Bass supported the suit or not?

Anonymous said...

Nope. but she is not up for election this year. I will remember her ethical transgression when her time comes.