Delay deal denies kids, disregards constitution
July 9, 2015
For Immediate Release
SEATTLE – Supporters of Initiative 1351 condemned the agreement announced yesterday by Senate leaders to delay many of I-1351’s class-size standards until 2023. “Our kids deserve better and the state constitution requires more,” said Mary Howes, citizen sponsor of I-1351.
“Students in our state have waited too long for class-size relief. Waiting another eight years for full implementation of 1351 means that nearly half a million children will finish high school without seeing the improvements they are entitled to,” said Howes.
The initiative explicitly states that voters have made lower K-12 class sizes and increased staffing allocations part of Washington’s program of basic education. And in the McCleary school funding case, the state Supreme Court was clear that “the legislature may not eliminate an offering from the basic education program for reasons unrelated to educational policy, such as fiscal crisis or mere expediency.”
I-1351 supporters say they will explore and pursue legal options if lawmakers enact the delay. Howes emphasized that “Voters approved I-1351 over 240 days ago. It’s unacceptable - and we believe unlawful - for the Senate to now suspend the measure for students older than age eight without having a serious discussion about the merits of smaller class sizes in the upper grades.”