King County judge rules state Legislature not equipped to fund basic ed

SEATTLE — Washington is not equipped to fund basic education under the state's constitution, ruled a King County Superior Court judge Thursday, Feb. 4.

In his opinion, Judge John Erlick said that the state has made progress toward its constitutional obligation, but funding for education is "not stable, and is not dependable."

Erlick said that local school districts must rely on other revenue sources, adding that the Legislature has continued to underfund basic education.

How the Legislature will fund education while faced a $2.6 billion deficit remains to be seen.

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said in a statement that the ruling marked a landmark day for the students of Washington.

"As a former teacher, principal and current chair of the Quality Education Council ... I am painfully aware of the state's underfunding of basic education," Dorn said in a statement. "This bill is a first step, but it doesn't go far enough to amply fund education or eliminate our reliance on local levies."

Dorn added that the Legislature must address their constitutional obligation that it is obligated to provide.

Stay tuned to The Arlington Times and The Marysville Globe for local reaction from Arlington, Marysville and Lakewood school district officials.

A copy of Erlick's decision can be viewed here.

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