Schools lose lawsuit for special education funding

The Federal Way School District, along with 11 other school districts, lost its court case to fully fund special education.

The state court of appeals heard the case last Tuesday and confirmed a lower court’s ruling that the state’s current funding of special education was not unconstitutional.

“The district is deeply disappointed,” district spokeswoman Diane Turner said.

Federal Way Public Schools filed the lawsuit back in 2004 among a coalition of 12 districts.

“Given the State of Washington’s clear constitutional obligation to provide ample resources for the education of all children, we are deeply disappointed that the Court of Appeals failed to recognize that the current funding of special education is inadequate,” said Tom Murphy, Superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools, in a press release. “The reality remains that special education is significantly underfunded, resulting in impacts for all children.”

Other school districts in the alliance include Bellingham, Bethel, Burlington-Edison, Everett, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Northshore, Puyallup, Riverside and Spokane.

Federal Way is still currently embroiled in another lawsuit regarding funding.

On Oct. 24, 2006, the board voted to pursue a lawsuit regarding inequitable school funding against the state of Washington.

The district contends that there are large differences in state funding from one school district to another.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, the Federal Way School District was the 7th largest in the state and was ranked 263 out of 296 districts in the state for dollars-per-student funding.

By the district’s estimates, Federal Way could have received about $11 million more a year.

Districts that have signed resolutions supporting Federal Way

Anacortes School District

Bellevue School District

Central Kitsap School District

Concrete School District

Everett School District

Granger School District

Grapeview School District

Hood Canal School District

Kiona-Benton City School District

Lake Stevens School District

Lakewood School District

Monroe School District

North Mason School District

Northshore School District

Newport School District

Ocean Beach School District

Peninsula School District

Port Angeles School District

Republic School District

Sedro-Woolley School District

Shelton School District

South Kitsap School District

Southside School District

Sultan School District

Sumner School District

Tahoma School District

Walla Walla School District

Wenatchee School District

White Salmon School District

Others expressing support

Edmonds School District

University Place School District

Federal Way PTSA Council

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