Variation in the way Washington state teachers and other school staff members are paid does not pose a constitutional problem, the Washington Supreme Court ruled last week, overturning a King County Superior Court ruling in a case brought three years ago by the Federal Way school district.
The high court said cost-of-living differences account for most of the uneven distribution of state money to school districts. While Federal Way receives the lowest salary money from the state, the court said that the legislature has been steadily closing the gap between districts.
Voters, however, worked against the plan when they passed Initiative 732 mandating uniform yearly cost-of-living increases without regard to salary difference. Those uniform salary increases widened salary gaps between school districts, the court noted in its ruling.
A version of this article appeared in the November 18, 2009 edition of Education Week as Washington State Supreme Court Overturns Ruling on Salary Money