Delyria v. State, No. 80602-1.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Writing for the CourtC. Johnson
Citation165 Wn.2d 559,199 P.3d 980
Decision Date29 January 2009
Docket NumberNo. 80602-1.
PartiesCheryl DELYRIA and Judy Koch, Respondents, v. STATE of Washington, Washington State School for the Blind, Petitioners.
199 P.3d 980
165 Wn.2d 559
Cheryl DELYRIA and Judy Koch, Respondents,
v.
STATE of Washington, Washington State School for the Blind, Petitioners.
No. 80602-1.
Supreme Court of Washington.
Argued September 23, 2008.
Decided January 29, 2009.

Warren Howard Fischer, Jr., Anne Elizabeth Egeler, Attorney General's Office, Olympia, WA, for Petitioners.

Thomas K. Doyle, Bennett Hartman Morris & Kaplan LLP, Portland, OR, for Respondents.

C. JOHNSON, J.


¶ 1 This case presents a question of statutory interpretation involving the meaning of the term "salary" as it applies to certificated teachers at the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB). Washington law requires that WSSB teachers' salaries "conform to and be contemporary with" salaries of local school district teachers. RCW 72.40.028 (pay parity statute). This dispute arises because three related statutes governing teacher

199 P.3d 981

compensation are not clear about whether supplemental forms of compensation qualify as "salary" for the purposes of the pay parity statute. Namely, this case asks whether compensation based on RCW 28A.400.200(4), which authorizes supplemental payments for school district teachers who take on "additional time, additional responsibilities, or incentives" (the TRI1 provision), applies to WSSB teachers as "salary." The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of the State, reasoning that the term "salary" in the pay parity statute is ambiguous and the legislature did not intend that WSSB teachers receive the TRI payments granted to school district teachers. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, holding that the term "salary" in the pay parity statute is not ambiguous and the statute's plain language entitles respondents to TRI payments or their equivalent. We reverse the Court of Appeals.

FACTS

¶ 2 Respondents Cheryl Delyria and Judy Koch are certificated teachers at WSSB. WSSB is located in the Vancouver School District (VSD). WSSB teachers are state employees. VSD teachers are local school district employees. WSSB and VSD have separate funding sources and collective bargaining processes. VSD pays its teachers a base salary established by the state salary schedule for certificated employees based on educational background and experience. Through VSD's collective bargaining agreement, teachers receive supplemental TRI payments for duties that occur outside of the regular 180-day contract year or regular school hours.

¶ 3 Like VSD, the State pays WSSB teachers' base salaries according to the state salary schedule. Under WSSB's current collective bargaining agreement, respondents also receive exchange time and earn supplemental pay in accordance with the WSSB's financial resources. WSSB's teachers do not receive TRI payments for their additional work. Respondents claim they are entitled to TRI payments or their monetary equivalent because the pay parity statute requires that WSSB salaries "conform to and be contemporary with salaries paid to" VSD certificated teachers. RCW 72.40.028.

¶ 4 On summary judgment, the trial court found in favor of the State, reasoning that TRI payments are not "salary" for the purposes of the pay parity statute because TRI payments are not based on a teacher's experience and background; rather, they are based on the need for overtime compensation. The trial court also found that WSSB teachers have their own forms of supplemental compensation, such as exchange time and additional compensation derived from collective bargaining. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, holding that the term "salary" in the pay parity statute is not ambiguous and the statute's plain language entitles respondents to TRI payments or their equivalent. That court further reasoned the State did not sufficiently demonstrate the legislature's intent to exclude WSSB teachers from receiving TRI payments. Savlesky v. Wash. Sch. for the Deaf, 139 Wash.App. 245, 136 P.3d 152 (2006).2 We granted review of the State's petition. Savlesky v. Wash. Sch. for the Deaf, 163 Wash.2d 1023, 185 P.3d 1195 (2008).

ISSUE

¶ 5 Whether the money paid to VSD teachers under the TRI provision, RCW 28A.400.200(4), is "salary" for the purposes of determining the compensation due WSSB teachers under RCW 72.40.028, the pay parity statute?

ANALYSIS
Standard of Review

¶ 6 The meaning of a statute is a question of law reviewed de novo.

199 P.3d 982
Rules of Construction

¶ 7 The court's fundamental objective is to ascertain and carry out the legislature's intent. If the statute's meaning is plain on its face, then the court must give effect to that plain meaning as an expression of legislative intent. We determine the plain meaning of a statutory provision based on the statutory language and, if necessary, in the context of related statutes which disclose legislative intent about the provision in question. If the statutory language is clear, our inquiry ends. However, if after this inquiry, the statute remains susceptible to more than one reasonable meaning, the statute is ambiguous and it is appropriate to resort to aids of statutory construction, including legislative history. See Cosmopolitan Eng'g Group, Inc. v. Ondeo Degremont, Inc., 159 Wash.2d 292, 298-99, 149 P.3d 666 (2006).

Relevant Statutory Provisions

¶ 8 In 1980, the legislature passed the pay parity statute.3 This statute governs WSSB's certificated employee's qualifications and salaries. It states in part:

Salaries of all certificated employees shall be set so as to conform to and be contemporary with salaries paid to other certificated employees of similar background and experience in the school district in which the program or facility is located.

RCW 72.40.028.

¶ 9 In 1985, the legislature passed two additional provisions allowing schools to exceed a 1981 salary cap4 by providing teachers with supplemental means of compensation. One statute is specific to WSSB, and the other is specific to local school districts like VSD. First, the WSSB-specific provision, former RCW 72.40.110 (Laws of 1985, ch. 378, § 12), authorized supplemental compensation for WSSB employees...

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6 practice notes
  • State v. Marohl, No. 83570–5.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • December 30, 2010
    ...is a matter of first impression. The meaning of a statute is a question of law we review de novo. Delyria v. State, 165 Wash.2d 559, 562, 199 P.3d 980 (2009).[170 Wash.2d 698] Under the plain meaning of RCW 9A.36.031(1)(d), the floor was not an “ instrument or thing likely to produce bodily......
  • Litchfield v. KPMG, LLP, No. 65372–5–I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • September 4, 2012
    ...Centerpoint Prepress, Inc., 143 Wash.2d 514, 519, 22 P.3d 795 (2001). 10.Delyria v. Wash. State Sch. for the Blind, 165 Wash.2d 559, 563, 199 P.3d 980 (2009). 11.City of Olympia v. Drebick, 156 Wash.2d 289, 295, 126 P.3d 802 (2006). 12.Drebick, 156 Wash.2d at 295, 126 P.3d 802. 13.Mader v. ......
  • Qualcomm, Inc. v. State, Dept. of Revenue, No. 37718-7-II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • August 25, 2009
    ...used to tax the OmniTRACS system. We review the meaning of a statute de novo as a question of law. Delyria v. State, 165 Wash.2d 559, 562, 199 P.3d 980 (2009). We must ascertain and carry out the legislature's intent. Delyria, 165 Wash.2d at 563, 199 P.3d 980. Where plain on its face, we gi......
  • Jametsky v. Olsen, NO. 67176-6-I
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • October 29, 2012
    ...15. Ellerman v. Centerpoint Prepress, Inc., 143 Wn.2d 514, 519, 22 P.3d 795 (2001). 16. Delyria v. Wash. State Sch. for the Blind, 165 Wn.2d 559, 563, 199 P.3d 980 (2009). 17. City of Olympia v. Drebick, 156 Wn.2d 289, 295, 126 P.3d 802 (2006). 18. Drebick, 156 Wn.2d at 295. 19. RCW 61.34.0......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • State v. Marohl, No. 83570–5.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • December 30, 2010
    ...is a matter of first impression. The meaning of a statute is a question of law we review de novo. Delyria v. State, 165 Wash.2d 559, 562, 199 P.3d 980 (2009).[170 Wash.2d 698] Under the plain meaning of RCW 9A.36.031(1)(d), the floor was not an “ instrument or thing likely to produce bodily......
  • Litchfield v. KPMG, LLP, No. 65372–5–I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • September 4, 2012
    ...Centerpoint Prepress, Inc., 143 Wash.2d 514, 519, 22 P.3d 795 (2001). 10.Delyria v. Wash. State Sch. for the Blind, 165 Wash.2d 559, 563, 199 P.3d 980 (2009). 11.City of Olympia v. Drebick, 156 Wash.2d 289, 295, 126 P.3d 802 (2006). 12.Drebick, 156 Wash.2d at 295, 126 P.3d 802. 13.Mader v. ......
  • Qualcomm, Inc. v. State, Dept. of Revenue, No. 37718-7-II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • August 25, 2009
    ...used to tax the OmniTRACS system. We review the meaning of a statute de novo as a question of law. Delyria v. State, 165 Wash.2d 559, 562, 199 P.3d 980 (2009). We must ascertain and carry out the legislature's intent. Delyria, 165 Wash.2d at 563, 199 P.3d 980. Where plain on its face, we gi......
  • Jametsky v. Olsen, NO. 67176-6-I
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • October 29, 2012
    ...15. Ellerman v. Centerpoint Prepress, Inc., 143 Wn.2d 514, 519, 22 P.3d 795 (2001). 16. Delyria v. Wash. State Sch. for the Blind, 165 Wn.2d 559, 563, 199 P.3d 980 (2009). 17. City of Olympia v. Drebick, 156 Wn.2d 289, 295, 126 P.3d 802 (2006). 18. Drebick, 156 Wn.2d at 295. 19. RCW 61.34.0......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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