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Part 3: Courts challenge school funding system | Preston Citizen

Part 3: Courts challenge school funding system

January 23, 2013
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By CLARK CORBIN

Post Register

Time and again, Idaho courts have ruled lawmakers are failing in their duties to meet the constitutional requirements for education.

Beginning in 1990, a group of school district superintendents and parents calling itself Idaho Schools for Equal Educational Opportunity sued the state. The group alleged “the present level and method of funding for Idaho’s public schools is unconstitutional.”

That 1990 complaint has been appealed to the Supreme Court at least five times, according to a 2005 opinion issued by the state’s high court.

In the first appeal, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled it is the judicial branch’s responsibility to define what a “thorough system of public, free schools” means. The Legislature responded by making several changes, including increasing spending.

The following is a summary of rulings, based on court records and the Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations

• 2001 — A District Court ruled the school funding system was constitutionally deficient in its ability to repair or replace dangerous of unsafe conditions in school buildings.

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