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Lawsuit aims to force state to boost money for education

School-district officials, union leaders and civic activists are poised to file the most sweeping lawsuit against the state of Washington over education spending in three decades.

School-district officials, union leaders and civic activists are poised to file the most sweeping lawsuit against the state of Washington over education spending in three decades.  The parties will meet today to discuss plans for the suit, which is expected to be filed next week. It will ask a court to define basic education and rule whether legislators have abided by the state constitution, which calls for the state to make education its "paramount duty."

The suit will also ask a judge to order the state to increase funding, although it won't seek a specific amount.  Leading the litigation is the 2-year-old Network for Excellence in Washington Schools, a group of nine districts that includes Seattle, Bellevue and Snohomish. The Washington Education Association -'" the state's largest teachers union -'" along with the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and the League of Women Voters are also plaintiffs, and additional districts are expected to join during today's meeting.

Around the country, 45 states have experienced similar lawsuits. In most cases filed since the 1980s, the plaintiffs won, and the state government was forced by court order to do something about education, said Molly Hunter, managing director of the National Access Network at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York.  The lawsuits are fairly similar, alleging that educational funding is inadequate and violates guarantees in state constitutions. Washington put even greater emphasis on education than many other states by declaring it the state's "paramount duty," Hunter said.

This article appeared in the January 5, 2007 edition of the Seattle Times.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2003510399_lawsuit05m0.html

 

 

 

 

Published Monday, Jan. 8, 2007

Lawsuit aims to force state to boost money for education

School-district officials, union leaders and civic activists are poised to file the most sweeping lawsuit against the state of Washington over education spending in three decades.  The parties will meet today to discuss plans for the suit, which is expected to be filed next week. It will ask a court to define basic education and rule whether legislators have abided by the state constitution, which calls for the state to make education its "paramount duty."

The suit will also ask a judge to order the state to increase funding, although it won't seek a specific amount.  Leading the litigation is the 2-year-old Network for Excellence in Washington Schools, a group of nine districts that includes Seattle, Bellevue and Snohomish. The Washington Education Association -'" the state's largest teachers union -'" along with the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and the League of Women Voters are also plaintiffs, and additional districts are expected to join during today's meeting.

Around the country, 45 states have experienced similar lawsuits. In most cases filed since the 1980s, the plaintiffs won, and the state government was forced by court order to do something about education, said Molly Hunter, managing director of the National Access Network at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York.  The lawsuits are fairly similar, alleging that educational funding is inadequate and violates guarantees in state constitutions. Washington put even greater emphasis on education than many other states by declaring it the state's "paramount duty," Hunter said.

This article appeared in the January 5, 2007 edition of the Seattle Times.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2003510399_lawsuit05m0.html

 

 

 

 

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