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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Letters to the Editor

Letter: Work-around won’t work

By Gloria Smith, Vancouver
Published: September 13, 2023, 6:00am

Regarding Joe Kooijman’s letter (“Working around public education,” Our Readers’ Views, Sept. 8), his idea of finding a way around the constitution wouldn’t work for Washington. It is the “paramount duty” in the constitution of the state of Washington to fund public education. That does not include private education. The Paramount Duty Clause has been challenged twice in court, and the state Supreme Court upheld that the state must fund public education. Levies used to be 40 percent of the budget for any school district. A failed levy guaranteed the state was not funding public education adequately.

I am not opposed to private education. I don’t agree it should be state-funded even though all state taxpayers help fund public education. It is a choice to go to private school. Therefore, the parents sending their children to private school have chosen to pay for it also. Also the amount of tax most people pay to help fund public school would not pay for private school.

Most likely for Kooijman’s idea to work in Washington, a constitutional change would need to be made, and I doubt that will ever happen.

We encourage readers to express their views about public issues. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for brevity and clarity. Limit letters to 200 words (100 words if endorsing or opposing a political candidate or ballot measure) and allow 30 days between submissions. Send Us a Letter