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School board delays decision on suing state

The Snoqualmie Valley school board voted to postpone a decision on joining 30 other Washington school districts in a lawsuit against the state for not adequately funding public education.

The lawsuit's organizer, the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools, alleges the state isn't living up to its constitutional mandate, which reads: “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders...”

The trial is scheduled to open in King County Superior Court on August 31.

Some school board members expressed concern over the cost of the lawsuit, which is being shared by the over 70 organizations which have joined. If the suit fails, they will be left to cover all costs, which the state would pay for if the suit succeeds.

“I don't have a high degree of confidence that it will make a difference,” said board member Craig Husa.

Even if the suit were successful, how quickly would districts receive additional money, he asked.

“That's the key piece of it — ordering the state to fully fund (education). That's not the $1 million question, that's the $100 million question,” said Superintendent Joel Aune.

Several of the state's largest districts have joined the lawsuit, including Seattle, Yakima, Spokane and Bellevue. The Washington State Parent Teacher Association and Washington Education Association have also joined.

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On the Web:

Network for Excellence in Washington Schools: www.waschoolexcellence.org

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