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Wash. Supreme Court Slams State on Aid

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The Washington Supreme Court ruled last week that the state isn't meeting its constitutional obligation to amply pay for basic public education, but the justices gave an endorsement to the reform work the legislature has already started.

The 85-page opinion says, however, that the judiciary would keep an eye on lawmakers to make sure they fully implement education reforms by 2018.

"The court cannot idly stand by as the legislature makes unfulfilled promises for reform," Justice Debra Stephens writes in the majority opinion. She notes that deadlines for reforms keep getting moved back and if left up to the legislature, the court expects the delays to continue.

Lawmakers, who convene this week for a 60-day session, will also need to focus on what to do about a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall.

In the strongly worded conclusion of the ruling issued last week, the court outlines the ways the legislature has failed to meet its obligationsby talking about reform but cutting school funding at the same time. However, the court does not lay out a plan for maintaining that oversight, and Justice Stephens acknowledges such work won't be easy.

Vol. 31, Issue 15, Page 4

Published in Print: January 11, 2012, as Wash. Supreme Court Slams State on Aid
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