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Petition for Declaratory Judgement

Petition for Declaratory Judgement

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Published by Tim Vickey

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Published by: Tim Vickey on Feb 15, 2012
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11/01/2012

 
 
PETITION FOR DECLARATORYJUDGMENT - 1
*131674 3592
 E
LLIS
,
 
L
I
&
 
M
C
INSTRY
 
PLLC
 
Attorneys at Law
Market Place Tower 2025 First Avenue, Penthouse ASeattle, WA 98121-3125206•682•0565 Fax: 206•625•1052
1234567891011121314151617181920212223 IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTONIN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF KINGBERNARD and SANDRA DUPLESSIS, on their own behalf and on behalf of their son,BERNARD DUPLESSIS, JR.; TOM and LINDASTAFFENHAGEN on their behalf and on behalf of their son, ANTHONY STEFFENHAGEN;LEAMON and DEBORAH WOODLEY, on their  behalf and on behalf of their son, LEAMONWOODLEY, III; BRIAN and LINDARAMBERG on their behalf and on behalf of their daughter, REBECCA RAMBERG; B. ERIC andSTEPHANIE STARK, on their behalf and on behalf of their children, CONNER STARK andMADALYNN STARK, and WASHINGTONFAMILIES FOR ONLINE LEARNING, aWashington nonprofit corporation;Petitioners,vs.STATE OF WASHINGTON,Respondent. NO.
PETITION FOR DECLARATORYJUDGMENT ENFORCINGWASHINGTON STATECONSTITUTION, ART. IX, SEC. 1INTRODUCTION
 The highest Court in the State of Washington recently affirmed what every parentknows-- that there is no more vital duty of state government than the education of our children. The founders of our State embedded this priority in the State Constitution: “It is the
 
 
PETITION FOR DECLARATORYJUDGMENT - 2
*131674 3592
 E
LLIS
,
 
L
I
&
 
M
C
INSTRY
 
PLLC
 
Attorneys at Law
Market Place Tower 2025 First Avenue, Penthouse ASeattle, WA 98121-3125206•682•0565 Fax: 206•625•1052
1234567891011121314151617181920212223 paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children …” Art.IX, Sec. 1. The Washington Supreme Court also affirmed what everyone knows—that stateofficials are failing our children. In
McCleary v. State of Washington
, the Supreme Courtruled that for years the Legislature’s spending per pupil “woefully underfunds” the basiceducation guaranteed to every student. But the State’s failure to meet its constitutionalmandate is more egregious than even the
McCleary
Court identified. In the 2011-2013 biennium budget, the State actually cut the already inadequate funding per pupil by anaverage of 15% for students receiving their basic education through online public schools.Online public schools serve over 13,000 Washington State students each year. Online public schools are district-run, state approved programs under Washington’s AlternativeLearning Experience (ALE) law intended to meet the instructional needs of students wholearn best from technology-based instructional methods or meet the needs of students at risk of not succeeding in the traditional school setting. Students receive a highly accountable,individualized and mastery-based education taught by state-certified teachers.School districts providing these programs received the Full Time Equivalent (FTE)funding for each student until 2011. The 2011 cuts were made for purely cost saving purposes, have no basis in fact, and cannot be supported by sound educational policy. Assuch, the cuts violate
McCleary
which concluded that “any reduction of programs or offeringsfrom the basic education program must be accompanied by an educational policy rationale.”The cuts have devastated the quality of online education and jeopardize the viability of theseindispensable programs. And, ironically, if online public schools are forced to close, as manywill if these cuts are not restored, online students will be driven back into traditional publicschools and any “savings” to the State will be lost.
 
 
PETITION FOR DECLARATORYJUDGMENT - 3
*131674 3592
 E
LLIS
,
 
L
I
&
 
M
C
INSTRY
 
PLLC
 
Attorneys at Law
Market Place Tower 2025 First Avenue, Penthouse ASeattle, WA 98121-3125206•682•0565 Fax: 206•625•1052
1234567891011121314151617181920212223Petitioners are the parents of students enrolled in online public schools. Many of their children were once in traditional public schools and struggled or dropped out because of medical issues, significant developmental challenges, difficulties in traditional classroomsettings and other barriers to receiving a basic education. One child struggles with Asperger’sand faced ridicule by fellow students, another must avoid the traditional learning environment because of hemophilia. Another student was a third grader reading at a kindergarten level anddid not receive the individualized attention she needed to overcome her dyslexia. Other  parents select online public school programs because their children excel in certain subjectsand can proceed at their own pace. All attend an online public school and all are currentlyachieving at or above grade levels. Whatever the reason, an online school is the best way for these children to receive the basic education guaranteed by the State Constitution through an“amply” funded education. The Legislature must restore the full FTE funding for students inthese vital programs. The State Constitution demands it.
PARTIES
1. The following parent-petitioners file this action on their own behalf and on behalf of their minor children.1.1
Bernard and Sandra Duplessis are the parents of BernardDuplessis, Jr
. Bernard is in the fifth grade and lives with his parents and sister, Dallas, inTulalip, WA. Bernard attends an online public school for several reasons. He has hemophilia,which means if he is cut or bruised he bleeds continuously. His health condition at his agerequires constant adult monitoring. A scrape on the playground or a scissor’s cut on thefinger can instantly became a traumatic health care incident and even threaten his life. Onlinelearning makes it possible for Sandra, who works in the home, to react instantly if Bernard is

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