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Originally published Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 9:39 PM

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Fulfill your obligation to fund education, lawyer urges legislators

The Legislature is still avoiding its constitutional duty to schoolchildren, according to a filing Wednesday with the state Supreme Court.

The Associated Press

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Guess Michael Young should have hired Thomas Ahearne for the 2004 election disputes. ... MORE
The Legislature needs to cut programs not Constitutionally protected. It's that simple. MORE

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The attorney representing a coalition of parents and education groups that sued the state over school funding told the Washington Supreme Court on Wednesday that the Legislature is still avoiding its constitutional duty to schoolchildren.

In a filing to the court, attorney Thomas Ahearne wrote that he was disappointed with a legislative report to the court last month.

Ahearne said lawmakers seem to think they can postpone fulfilling the court's order to put more money into education because of the economy, but his clients say state officials need to obey the constitution even when times are difficult.

In January, the Supreme Court ruled the state isn't meeting its constitutional obligation to amply pay for basic education. In the past decade, education spending has gone from close to 50 percent to just above 40 percent of the state budget, despite the fact that some education spending is protected by the constitution.

State lawmakers have in recent years been dealing with large budget deficits, and earlier this year they cut $300 million in state funding.

A month ago, Washington lawmakers filed their first annual progress report in answer to the Supreme Court's ruling on the lawsuit known as the McCleary case.

The brief filed Wednesday is the coalition's response.

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