Patty Venema has always been a passionate parent. She was very involved in her kids' education as they grew up in Snohomish.
Back in 2007 Halie and Robbie Venema were in the 6th and 9th grades, and Patty was sick of what she was seeing in their classrooms.
"There were 35 kids in the classroom and they were short seven or eight books," recalled Patty. "I called the assistant superintendent and I said, this is not right. Not only are they overcrowded, but they don't have enough books for kids who are in the classes."
At the time, a family named McCleary was preparing to sue the state of Washington and force it to fully fund public education. A Snohomish school official asked Patty if she would be willing to be part of the suit as well.
The answer was elementary.
"The last time the state was sued, I was in high school. Thirty years later they still weren't funding education properly," said Patty. "I was furious."
The McCleary case carried on for 11 years, finally coming to a close Thursday when the Washington Supreme Court lifted tens of millions of dollars in fines on the state and proclaimed it was finally meeting its funding obligations.
But Patty isn't convinced the issue is over.
"I'm sure if at some point the state ends up running into some financial trouble, they will start pulling money from education again. So it will always be a battle that someone will have to fight."
But not Patty.
She says she's done fighting this fight, but she has others waiting to take it on again if need be.
"It could be my kids. They learned a lot in this process," said Patty. "I don't know how many kids can actually say they've been at the Supreme Court in a case with their name on it."
Hailey and Robbie are now 26 and 23.
Patty can't help but think of what kind of education awaits their kids.
She hopes her children don't have to fight for theirs the way she did for hers.
"I hope for my grandchildren that we fully fund education and that we take education as importantly as we should in this state."