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Court brief filed yesterday seeks to fund education but not at expense of social programs

Satisfying the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision to increase spending on education should not come at the expense of social programs.

That’s according to three agencies that on Monday, yesterday, filed a brief with the court.

The Children’s Alliance, Columbia Legal Services and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance filed the brief.

The McCleary v. Washington decision was handed down in January 2012. The court found Washington’s legislature is not amply funding basic education in violation of the state constitution.

The brief filed yesterday requests that, as the state moves to comply with the court’s ruling, it refrain from funding education in a way that jeopardizes housing and other basic services to children and families.

“If we cut social programs to pay for education, everyone’s worse off,” says Paola Maranan, executive director of the Children’s Alliance. “In addressing our failure to uphold kids’ right to a basic education, we don’t want the solution to exacerbate the problem.”

The agencies filing Monday’s brief agreed with the court ruling. However, they are concerned students in low-income families face barriers outside the classroom that limit their equal opportunity to obtain a basic education.

In the brief, the organizations explain how, even with the existing level of funding for social programs, students in low-income families and students of color often cannot achieve educational opportunity.

“For children across Washington, the lack of a safe, stable home can be a huge barrier to learning,” says Housing Alliance Executive Director Rachael Myers. “We already have proven, innovative programs that create affordable homes and keep families and children stably housed. They just need to be adequately funded.”

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