SCHOOL FUNDING SUIT SUFFERS SETBACK
A local judge has tossed out major portions of a school funding lawsuit filed by a coalition that included the Alameda Unified School District and several local families, though the judge’s ruling did allow plaintiffs to file a narrower claim.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven A. Brick said the law doesn’t require the state to make fixes to the way it funds schools or to provide any particular level of funding for schools. Plaintiffs in the Robles-Wong school funding suit had claimed the state’s failure to align its funding system with educational standards it has set violated the California Constitution, and they hoped the state would fix the system and provide more funding for schools.
“The court finds no authority to support plaintiffs’ argument that a California Constitution equal protection claim can be stated based upon inadequate funding, however devastating the effects of such underfunding have been on the quality of public education,” Judge Brick said in his 26-page ruling, released Friday.
Judge Brick said the plaintiffs in the case can file a narrower complaint focused around a claim that the state is failing to provide equal educational opportunities to all the state’s students. Those are due on February 14.
An Alameda student is the lead plaintiff in the Robles-Wong case, whose plaintiffs are a coalition of school districts, state advocacy groups and families. A second lawsuit featuring similar claims was filed a few months after the Robles-Wong case, and the California Teachers Association intervened in the case.
Bill Koski, one of the attorneys handling the case, said attorneys handling the case are considering their options. He said they are disappointed with the court’s decision.
“We will continue to vigorously challenge the State’s finance system on the grounds that it fails to deliver an equitable and sufficient education to our children,” Koski said in a statement.
For more on this latest development in the case, check out Fensterwald’s report here and Katy Murphy’s piece in the Oakland Tribune, here. In the meantime, the ruling (which we picked up off Fensterwald’s site) is below.