State Superintendent Randy Dorn has filed a lawsuit against several school districts across the state, demanding that they stop using special levies to pay supplemental contracts for teachers.
Dorn said in a release, “This is not a step I want to take. But four years after McCleary v. Washington, the Legislature has failed to provide adequate education funding and it has failed to create an equitable funding system.
The result? Many districts use local levies to pay teacher salaries.”
Dorn says that he understands the reasoning, but by using local levies to pay for basic education costs they are going against the state constitution.
Dorn goes on to say that by paying with levies, it has created an unequal salaries between school districts, limiting smaller areas in their hiring.
“Teachers are the most important element in student learning. Wealthy districts are able to attract and retain better qualified teachers by offering higher pay. Paying some of them more than others creates inequitable educational opportunities for students.”
The Supreme Court issued a $100,000-a-day fine until the state can fully fund education order the McCleary Decision, but this has not spurred the change even after amassing over $34,000,000 in fines since it was introduced.
No local schools were included in the lawsuit.
School Districts named in lawsuit:
Seattle School District No. 1
Everett School District
Bellevue School District
Spokane School District
Tacoma School District
Evergreen School District
Puyallup School District