PETITION FOR DECLARATORYJUDGMENT - 2
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
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
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.