California Schools to Sue State of California
SJ Mercury News:
Top California school leaders said they soon will sue the state over chronically underfunded schools—a move that in other states has infused billions of dollars into school systems.
California spends $35.7 billion, or about 30 percent of its budget, on its 1,000 public K-12 schools. Like other state programs, education has suffered waves of cuts in two years as state revenues have shrunk. In per-pupil spending, California ranks anywhere from 30th to 47th among states, depending on how cost of living is adjusted.
The California Constitution requires the Legislature "to provide for a system of common schools by which a free school shall be kept up and supported." The suit will allege that the state violates that provision by not ensuring adequate support.
Given its low ranking in spending plus recent cuts, "nobody can rationally assert that the system is adequately supported," said Scott Plotkin, executive director of the California School Boards Association, which he said will file suit by the end of the year.
Don Iglesias, superintendent of San Jose Unified School District, noted that California has trailed national per-pupil spending since 1979, and now the gap is $1,700 per student.
The problem is bigger than the current economic crisis, he said. Without litigation, the state won't properly fund schools: "I'm supportive of the lawsuit," he said.