This morning, a historic lawsuit was filed against the state of California, alleging that the current school finance system in the state is unconstituional, and asking that the state be required to establish a system that provides all students with the same opportunity to meet the academic goals set by the state.
The lawsuit, Robles-Wong v. California, was filed by a broad coalition, including more than 60 individual students and their families, nine school districts from throughout the State (including SFUSD), the California School Boards Association (CSBA), California State PTA, and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).
According to the CSBA press release:
California’s broken school finance system has undermined the ability of districts to educate our children by making no connection between what is expected of schools and students and the funding provided in order to meet those expectations.California has set clear requirements for what schools are expected to teach and what students are expected to learn. But the state has failed in its obligation to provide the resources necessary to meet these requirements. The state’s failure to support the required educational program adversely affects all students. Academic achievement results show California’s irrational, unstable and insufficient school finance system denies students the opportunity to become proficient in the State’s academic standards.
It’s very important to note that this district is incurring no legal costs (other than the staff time required on the part of the General Counsel and the Superintendent) for being a party to the lawsuit. And though this is not a “quick fix” — it could take a long time to wind its way through the courts — it’s at least a ray of hope on the horizon that the courts will finally force the Legislature to do what we’ve been asking them to do for years.
For more information on the lawsuit, go to http://www.fixschoolfinance.org . For background on adequacy lawsuits, this web site, maintained by Teachers College of Columbia University, is a treasure trove.