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 OLYMPIA, Wash., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The state's largest school employee union joined other education groups today in promising legal action if the Legislature cuts constitutionally protected basic education funding, the Washington Education Association (WEA) said.
 The 60,000-member WEA was one of six organizations which sent a letter to Gov. Mike Lowry and members of the Legislature citing several court precedents which guard basic education funding.
 "We are united in our determination to protect the constitutional rights of the state's children," the letter said. It was signed by WEA, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) and Public School Employees (PSE) of Washington.
 WEA, WASA, AWSP and PSE also said they would consider legal action if the Legislature cuts basic funding for schools. WSSDA and OSPI are prohibited by law from suing the state.
 WEA President Carla Nuxoll said the letter was prompted by continuing debate during the current special session regarding a Senate proposal to slash $120 million from the basic education budget, as well as other efforts to cut money from important programs for students.
 "Basic education is just that: the bare minimum needed to educate nearly 900,000 Washington students," Nuxoll said. "Any attempt to cut basic education funds -- either through the Senate's misguided average daily attendance scheme or any other mechanism -- will, quite simply, hurt kids.
 "As the representatives of educators who would see the results of basic education cuts where they hit the hardest -- in Washington classrooms -- we cannot allow that to occur," she added. "Any basic education cuts will be met as quickly as possible with a challenge in the Washington judicial system. We will spare no legal effort to keep political expediency from hurting our students."
 The letter referred to Article 9 of the Washington Constitution, which describes the "paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders." The State Supreme Court, in upholding the landmark 1978 case known as the Doran decision, required the state to define "basic education" and to fully fund it.
 "Many school districts in the state are not currently able to provide the basic program of education within the 'basic education' funds identified by the Legislature," the letter said. "Further cuts will leave such school districts with no way to provide the basic program of education required by the state constitution."
 WEA represents the state's classroom teachers, other certified school staff, classified employees and community college faculty.
 -0- 4/28/93
 /CONTACT: Teresa Moore of the Washington Education Association, 206-946-4690/

CO: Washington Education Association ST: Washington IN: SU:

SW-MC -- SE009 -- 2308 04/28/93 17:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 28, 1993

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