Schools suing state for more funding - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Schools suing state for more funding

Posted: Updated:

Kennewick, WA- This first week of school is also the first week of a trial involving several school districts in Washington State.

A coalition of school districts, parents and teachers are demanding the state start paying the full cost of education. The 30 school districts point to a ruling three decades ago, in which a judge said the state must fully pay for its definition of basic education.

Interpreting that definition, the schools argue the state constitution clearly puts education as the paramount duty of the government, so the government should pay for it all.

State and federal dollars pay most, but not all the cost to educate Washington's students. Local tax levies pay for some. Your donations and PTA fundraisers pay for the rest.

The coalition says the way the state allocates money is lopsided, unfair, and outdated. Attorneys argue school districts with a higher property tax base get more local dollars, while other school districts are left financially strapped, and students in those districts don't get their basic education as mandated in the constitution.

The non-jury trial gets underway tomorrow, the first day of school in many cities across the state. The suit will ask the judge to order the state to increase funding, although the coalition hasn't said by how much.

The state's larger school districts are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, but none of the schools in the Tri-Cities is involved.