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Who is mandating state spending???
Old 11-20-2011, 11:00 AM   #1
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Who is mandating state spending???

Below is the beginning of an article concerning how difficult it is to legally cut public budgets.

From today's Seattle Times:

OLYMPIA — Washington is getting hit with so many lawsuits over budget cuts that it's not clear at times who controls the state's purse strings: lawmakers or the court system.
This month, a Thurston County judge overruled state plans to limit Medicaid clients' nonemergency visits to emergency rooms, a decision that could cost the state $32 million between now and June 2013.
In October, a federal judge said the state could not kick 11,000 people off a subsidized insurance program because of their immigration status. That allows thousands to re-enroll at a projected cost of $17 million.
And in March, a federal judge ruled the state also could not reduce food assistance to people because of their immigration status. Potential cost: $16.5 million.
Overall, the state has been sued more than a dozen times because of cuts lawmakers made........

Here is a link to the entire article:

Local News | As state makes cuts, lawsuits are flying | Seattle Times Newspaper
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:40 PM   #2
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Last sentence in the article...
"So if states don't want to be sued for violating people's rights, then they should stop violating people's rights and instead raise revenue so that they don't have to do that."

Looks like the courts will have to discern between "rights" and "entitlements". Argh.

What is that old saying about what you cannot get out of a turnip ?
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:43 PM   #3
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I wanted to write something really ugly. I'll stop here
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:46 PM   #4
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It seems that the core of the issue is that when times are good and assistance and benefits can be increased, well meaning legislatures do so. When times are bad and cuts need to be made, advocates and activists resist the reductions through the courts. It's a bit like union negotiations............ Get a little more with each contract and never ever give anything back, no matter what.
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:53 PM   #5
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I wanted to write something really ugly. I'll stop here
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:01 AM   #6
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Sounds like a lot of the cuts were specific to people with certain immigration status. I can see how that might rule foul of the law. It seems like this is an example of how the US governs itself with the judiciary ruling on legal issues with the way the legislative branch does business. Another example is the judicial challenge to Obama's heath care legislation.
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:40 AM   #7
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It seems like this is an example of how the US governs itself with the judiciary ruling on legal issues with the way the legislative branch does business. Another example is the judicial challenge to Obama's heath care legislation.
A judicial challenge which was mounted by the attorney generals of the majority of the states in the Union. They do have a right to challenge the law, and the SCOTUS has the right to hear the case, and make a decision, which they will sometime next summer.......
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Old 11-22-2011, 06:43 AM   #8
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A judicial challenge which was mounted by the attorney generals of the majority of the states in the Union. They do have a right to challenge the law, and the SCOTUS has the right to hear the case, and make a decision, which they will sometime next summer.......
Agreed, but limiting challenges to legislation through the courts at state level by individuals or small groups would seem to be changing the nature of the "checks and balances" that exist between the legislature, courts and executive. Coming form a country with a parliamentary system where the legislature is more powerful I get frustrated at the challenges that seem to come from so many vested interests. It would however remove an avenue for the individual to oppose legislation and that would be a significant change.
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:43 AM   #9
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It's a bit like union negotiations............ Get a little more with each contract and never ever give anything back, no matter what.
Except that there have been many give backs in WA state this year. I know. My base pay has been cut 2% and the few paid days I used to get to prepare for the school year were cut from 3 to 1. Given that I spend at least 10 days gettingh ready for the school year asking to be paid for 30% of them and getting paid for 10% does not seem to fit the bill of 'never give back anything.'

Times have changed.
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:49 AM   #10
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There is no doubt that something has to give. Part of the problem is that the courts often extend laws into areas that the authors had no intention of going. For example, I one heard a senator who co-sponsored a bill on right for disabled students comment on what has happened. He made it clear that the bill was supposed to preserve the rights of students with disabilities in areas like vision, hearing, mobilty and mental processing. He made it clear they never intended for ill-behaved students to be catagorized as "behaviorally disabled" and fall under this law.
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:06 AM   #11
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There was a discussion today of the importance of early intervention for youth with mental illness who often drop out of school, self medicate by trying (and becoming addicted) to drugs and become involved in the justice system. That is a lot different than an unruly, mean, disrespectful kid. Is 'behaviorally disabled' student mentally ill? Perhaps. Teachers don't have the skills to handle mentally ill students, they need mental health professionals and an appropriate educational setting. A person with a mental illness is just as much a disabled person as those with other serious impairments.

Middle school, high school environments can be triggers for psychosis. Many mentally ill youth can be stabilized and live a productive life.
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:44 PM   #12
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here is an article about NY unfunded school mandates

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/ny...pagewanted=all

"like a 2007 law requiring districts to give employees paid leave for breast cancer and prostate screenings. The mandate cost one district, Croton-Harmon in Westchester County, $3,500 for substitutes for 20 teachers and staff members, and the cost is expected to rise as more staff members learn about the law, district officials say. "

lets see, if school gets out by 3:30 you can't get a late appt. for these screenings? Or maybe one of your 180 days off. Just one very small example but they add up.
NY also mandates busing of private school students up to 15 miles, and has rules for busing kids according to grade. You may well live in an area that has not much snow and could safely walk to school, but a bus seat would be provided whether or not there is a child in it.

another one is the EMTLA, the emergency treatment act that the federal government has said that every person that goes to an emergency room must be treated, regardless of immigration status, if it is emergency or ability to pay. But there is no reimbursement for these unpaying customers.

Also, immigration status is not taken into account in schools. Probably this is a huge issue on the border states where kids can cross to go to school.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with any of these mandates, they remain unfunded and paid by taxpayers or in the case of ER patients by those with insurance in the form of higher premiums and co-pays as their bills are higher overall.
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:28 PM   #13
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Also, immigration status is not taken into account in schools. Probably this is a huge issue on the border states where kids can cross to go to school.
Actually the issue of paying for education and special programs for concentrations of undocumented immigrants pops up across the nation and sometimes far away from border states. The Chicago suburb I live in has a 39% population of a particular ethnic group whose children require extensive bi-lingual resources as well as "catch-up" tutoring and special education services. It's hit our taxes pretty hard as the school district struggles to provide the necessary services to give the new kids a level playing field vs those who speak fluent English and have been attending school here all along.

It seems strange that due to fear of federal intervention, our schools accept the kids on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis yet the feds don't supply any special funding to help with the situation. We're mandated to accept the burden yet the costs are not shared.

Note: I'm not complaining about the folks being here. I just wish the burden of their support could be shared across the entire population of our country and not focused on the residents of the communities where they chose to concentrate.
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:36 PM   #14
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Note: I'm not complaining about the folks being here. I just wish the burden of their support could be shared across the entire population of our country and not focused on the residents of the communities where they chose to concentrate.
Hey, if your schools are like the one in my neighborhood (close to half limited English proficiency - not sure about the legality of their residency here in the US of A), it is failing and getting a lot of federal no child left behind payola. They are dumping money in there by the boatload (pardon the immigration related pun!). Ipads, computers, small class sizes, extra teachers, resource teachers, free breakfast for all, electronic white boards in all classrooms, extended hours, free 1 on 1 tutoring for all, etc. Sometimes it pays to be "poor".
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:46 PM   #15
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Hey, if your schools are like the one in my neighborhood (close to half limited English proficiency - not sure about the legality of their residency here in the US of A), it is failing and getting a lot of federal no child left behind payola. They are dumping money in there by the boatload (pardon the immigration related pun!). Ipads, computers, small class sizes, extra teachers, resource teachers, free breakfast for all, electronic white boards in all classrooms, extended hours, free 1 on 1 tutoring for all, etc. Sometimes it pays to be "poor".
Hmmmmm...... That's not the situation here. According to the school board president, in an article talking about raising the elementary school tax levy in our local paper, there's zero fed help despite the fact we need lotsa extra resources.

Do you have any details where your schools are getting that money? Which specific fed programs?
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:19 PM   #16
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Hmmmmm...... That's not the situation here. According to the school board president, in an article talking about raising the elementary school tax levy in our local paper, there's zero fed help despite the fact we need lotsa extra resources.

Do you have any details where your schools are getting that money? Which specific fed programs?
Federal Race to the Top funding - looks like our district received millions from that program, much of which is going to tech funding and other directed funding to spiffy up 4-5 under performing schools. I don't recall how that grant program was structured, but I think the local district has a lot of discretion as to where they spend the grant $$, so absent the need to spend money on a student body broadly non-proficient in English, it could have gone elsewhere I guess.

The second honey pot is No Child Left Behind Title I funding. Again, I don't know the specifics, but our school has failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for something like 5 years, so they apparently get increasing funding to help attain AYP.

No idea how they fund the free breakfasts for all - could be a USDA program or whoever funds the Free and Reduced Lunch program. Or might be NCLB Title I.

To summarize, I don't think any of the fed funding is tied to directly headcount of students with limited English proficiency, but rather other programs recognize that under performance exists and funding is thrown at the school because of the under performance.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:23 PM   #17
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To summarize, I don't think any of the fed funding is tied to directly headcount of students with limited English proficiency.
That more or less backs up what I'm told is happening here. We have an enormous need for funding for the special needs of recent arrivals but recieve no/little fed funding directed at that issue.

It just seems like funding for this issue should be a nation wide challenge since the status of our borders is a national, not local (according to Washington) responsibility. The cost of more or less open borders should be met by all citizens not just local homeowners in a school district popular with the newly arriving folks.
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:37 PM   #18
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Most citizens would be shocked at how Federal and state laws combine with court decisions to require school districts to spend huge amounts of money on a few students. For example, some 'behaviorally disabled" students must be sent to private, room and board schools at a cost in excess of $76,000 per year. They districts get some of that money back from the state and Feds, but the rest comes out of their regular budget.
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Old 11-23-2011, 04:14 PM   #19
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I suspect that those students are mentally ill, they still must be educated while undergoing treatment - just as children hospitalized for cancer or burn patients. The education of all those patients is a part of a school district's budget.

'Back in the day' they would have been sent to a state mental hospital. Now adult mental patients have been discharged to special units in long term care facilities or are wandering the streets or in our jails because they won't voluntarily take their meds, the patients that remain are often the criminally insane.
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