Children require adequate buildings in which to learn, and a lawyer in Washington has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a small district in Washington state. The lawsuit claims that the buildings are in such poor condition that the children are unable to learn. In the lawsuit, the lawyer claims that public education is supposed to be an equalizer across the country, giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. The lawsuit goes on to claim that the Wahkiakum School District does not have the funding to maintain its buildings, creating inequality in schools districts across the state.
The school district is small, representing fewer than 500 students, and the lawyer claims that the district is being overlooked. The lawsuit further claims that the state of Washington is violating its own Constitution by not providing students with modern buildings in which to learn.
Approximately 10 years ago, the same lawyer filed and won a lawsuit when the Washington state supreme court agreed with him and the argument that the state was not giving enough funding to provide all students with ample access to basic education. As a result of the case, many school districts had to find new sources of funding instead of relying solely on property taxes.
The lawsuit goes on to argue that many of the smaller districts are being hurt because wealthy districts often vote in favor of raising property taxes to fund their schools. On the other hand, smaller districts may not have the capital to increase their property taxes, causing their buildings to fall into a state of disrepair.
In addition, residents who live in wealthier districts may pay a lower property tax percentage that still results in greater revenue because their properties are worth more. The end result is that wealthier districts have more resources to construct new buildings and provide better equipment to teachers and their students.
The lawsuit is expected to go to the state supreme court and could have a significant impact across the state, particularly in small and rural districts. People across the state of Washington will watch the results of the lawsuit carefully because it could have impacts not only in the Wahkiakum School District but others as well.