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Court reaffirms ruling on special ed funding

Wed., March 11, 2009, 2:46 p.m.

The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a lower court’s decision denying a request by a consortium of Washington school districts to declare the system of funding special education unconstitutional.

The School Districts’ Alliance for Adequate Funding of Special Education unsuccessfully sued the state in 2004, declaring consistent failure to fully fund special education programs.

Among the 12 districts named in the lawsuit were Spokane Public Schools and the Riverside School District. An additional 70 school districts also submitted briefs to the court in support of the alliance.

“While the decision is disappointing, the Alliance is committed to honoring the rights and dignity of all students,” Spokane superintendent Nancy Stowell said in a press release. “On behalf of all the parents and children who attend our schools, we will continue to raise the issue of inadequate funding.”

In Spokane — the state’s second largest school system — more than $37 million is budgeted this year for state required special education programs.

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