Douglas County: Parents, teachers, and a school district are asking the court to allow them to join Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson in defending $500 million per year for education funding.
Today they filed a motion to intervene as defendants with the WA State Superior Court in Douglas County in the cases of Clayton v. Washington and Quinn v. Washington. Both lawsuits are trying to eliminate $500 million per year in education funding raised from a capital gains tax on extraordinary profits from stock sales exceeding $250,000. These monies fund school repair and construction and the Education Legacy Trust Account, which funds special education among other things.
The named potential intervenors are the Edmonds School District, East Wenatchee junior high school teacher Tammy Grubb, parent Adrienne Stuart, Pathways Enrichment Academy director Mary Curry, and the Washington Education Association.
“For our community to thrive, we must fulfill our responsibility to provide all students with modern, safe, and healthy learning environments,” said Tammy Grubb, an English teacher at Eastmont Junior High School in East Wenatchee. Grubb has been an educator for more than 30 years, and is also President of the Eastmont Education Association, which represents more than 400 educators in Douglas County where the lawsuits were brought. “By protecting $500 million in education funding, we are protecting money needed to fix leaky pipes, replace failing HVAC systems, and repair broken equipment in our schools. I’m retiring in the next few years, and before I go I want to make sure all Eastmont students have access to the education they need to succeed as adults and community members.”
“State funding is crucial to carrying out our mission of providing all children an excellent education,” said Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Superintendent of the Edmonds School District. “Edmonds provides a wide variety of programs and services to those who qualify for special education services. Our programs include occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, intensive academic, social and emotional support, and developmental kindergarten. All of these programs would benefit from additional funding, especially as the district works to help students adjust to in-person schooling after the effects of the recent global pandemic.”
“We want to stop the plaintiffs from cutting an estimated $500 million a year from education when our children, especially those with developmental disabilities, are suffering from pandemic-caused educational setbacks,” said Adrienne Stuart, a Tacoma parent of two children with developmental disabilities. “One of my children is 7 years old, and does not use spoken words to communicate. He is learning to use a Tobii eye-gaze device to interact with the world. This device requires daily practice with his paraeducator and family, and guidance of an experienced speech language pathologist provided by our school. More than 100,000 Washington children with disabilities rely on our public schools for almost all of their physical, occupational, and speech therapy, but our schools cannot keep up with our children’s needs. By eliminating this funding, plaintiffs will harm their chances at living full, meaningful lives.”
“Quality childcare can be more expensive than college tuition. Preschool help, funded by this new tax, means more parents can send their young ones to get the early learning critical to success later in life,” said Mary Curry, Director of Pathways Enrichment Academy in Tacoma. “If they eliminate this money, the plaintiffs will set back thousands of young children who could truly benefit from high quality preschool and early learning.”
The next court hearing is currently scheduled for 10AM on Tuesday, July 13.