State Legislature restores some funding to schools

July 23, 2013

While some education backers are critical of the budget cobbled together by state lawmakers in late June, numbers show public schools will receive more money in the coming year.

Whether it’s enough money for the state to fully fund basic education needs is a question that hasn’t yet been answered.

The Washington Education Association issued a news release that says the state Legislature’s 2013-15 budget “falls far short” of meeting basic education requirements. In the McCleary vs. Washington case, the state Supreme Court ruled the Legislature must increase education spending and fully fund basic education by 2018.

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Legislative candidates focus on education at forum

October 23, 2012

Candidates staked moderate positions and touted the importance of education as the contenders for offices to represent Issaquah in Olympia gathered for a candidate forum Oct. 18.

Education emerged as the signature theme in the races to represent local constituents in the state Senate and state House of Representatives. Candidates also tackled issues related to taxation, transportation, land use and — as lawmakers prepare for more budget cuts next year — government spending.

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Issaquah superintendent is ‘cautiously optimistic’ after Supreme Court education ruling

January 5, 2012

NEW — 4:45 p.m. Jan. 5, 2012

“Cautiously optimistic” was the response of Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen to Jan. 5’s state Supreme Court ruling regarding school funding.

Steve Rasmussen

In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled that the Legislature is not living up to its constitutional mandate to fund basic education.

The ruling came in the so-called NEWS lawsuit, filed in 2007 and named for the coalition of school districts, teachers unions and education advocates that led the suit. The Issaquah district supported the suit through an amicus brief filed with the court.

That group is known as the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools. They were asking the court to help enforce a 1978 ruling that also said the state was not living up to its paramount duty to pay for basic K-12 education.

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Teachers challenge supermajority rule

August 9, 2011

As part of the Washington Education Association, unionized Issaquah school teachers are parties to the suit filed late last month challenging the requirement that a positive vote by a supermajority of state legislators is needed to approve future tax increases.

Imposed by voters in November as part of Initiative 1053, the rule resulted from one of the latest initiatives launched by well-known political activist Tim Eyman. The supermajority requirement applies to both houses of the state legislature.

“The state of Washington is not following through on their paramount duty to fully fund education,” said Phyllis Runyon, president of the Issaquah Education Association, the local teachers union. “The state has not fully funded education for years, but with the current economic situation, the funding situation has worsened.”

The state already has some of the largest class sizes in the nation along with some of the lowest per-pupil funding, Runyon added.

“Eyman’s initiative that calls for a two-thirds majority to pass legislation to raise taxes makes the situation far worse,” Runyon continued. “Without new revenue, the state will undoubtedly continue to cut education.”

Opponents specifically argue the rule violates the state constitution, unlawfully impairing the ability of lawmakers to fund public schools.

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Education reform bills are squashed

February 24, 2009

Hopes for education reform in the state were partially dashed Feb. 18 when both legislative bodies rejected further discussion on House Bill 1410 and Senate Bill 5444, two bills Issaquah School Board members and the PTSA fully endorsed.

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Two strong candidates, including incumbent, vie for lands commissioner

October 7, 2008

As the November election approaches, voters have a multitude of candidates and issues to ponder. From a ballot proposal for a new fire station to the race for governor, the choices are clear and the outcomes will be important. Read more

Pflug defends 5th District seat against newcomer Huster

October 1, 2008

Cheryl Pflug’s entry into politics was not glamorous, but it certainly will sound familiar to legions of other citizens who have sought elected office.

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