Washington Funding Ruling Overturned


Last Updated: November 29, 2009
 

This article appeared in the November 2009 Rural Policy Matters.
 
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The Washington Supreme Court has overturned a ruling for one of the largest urban districts in the state, Federal Way. That equity case, supported by a number of small rural districts, charged that the funding system for teaching and administrative salaries was arbitrary and unconstitutional.
 
Legislators have been working to address some of the disparities among districts and the court decision cited that work as closing the funding gap and noted that uniform funding is not required by the state constitution.
 
Also in the unanimous ruling, the court stated that the difference in cost of living expenses among districts, calculated to be as much as 37%, accounted for much of the difference in salary funding.
 
District leadership called the decision “heartbreaking” and an endorsement of underfunding schools. Another lawsuit on similar issues, the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools (NEWS) adequacy case, recently completed trial, although that suit did not raise the salary issue.
 
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Read more from the November 2009 Rural Policy Matters.