A lawsuit is brewing over the Legislature’s proposed cuts to online learning and other non-school-based education, which supporters say is part of students’ right to basic eduction under the state constitution and can’t legally be reduced.
But lawmakers may be backing away from those cuts.
School districts can claim basic-education funding for so-called Alternative Learning Experiences that mainly happen away from their campuses. House budget writers have proposed cutting that ALE money by 20 percent, saying the programs need less money per student than do traditional brick-and-mortar schools with secretaries and custodians. The Senate countered with a 10 percent cut.
Former Rep. Gigi Talcott of the group Washington Families for Online Learning warned in a news release that cutting the basic education of more than 50,000 students in ALE programs is “unprecedented and sets the state up for another legal challenge.” She was in Olympia this week showing lawmakers an analysis by the attorney she has retained, Steve O’Ban, saying lawmakers risked a constitutional challenge.
O’Ban said a lawsuit is “on the table” if the funding cut goes through. Read more »