|Hot Topics Blog: Opening appellate brief filed in school funding lawsuit|
by Kathryn Firestone, Executive Director, Oregon School Funding Defense Foundation
On Friday, Feb. 2, our opening brief was filed in the Oregon Court of Appeals (this document, along with other relevant briefs, background and power point can be found at www.osfdf.org) moving us along toward an eventual Supreme Court decision on Oregon’s constitutional requirements for funding adequacy of our K-12 schools. I appreciate this opportunity to bring you up to date on the lawsuit and Foundation to this point.
While the recent elections and improved economy may result in increased funding for Oregon’s K-12 schools in the near term, we continue to believe it vitally important that our appellate courts weigh in to clarify the State’s constitutional obligation for the benefit of future legislatures and all Oregon’s school children, present and future.
As you may be aware, on September 15, 2006, the Multnomah County Circuit Court found for the State of Oregon on its motion for summary judgment in the funding adequacy lawsuit. The court effectively reads Art. VIII, section 8 of our Constitution to say that "shall" means "if you like" and "and" means "or." The net effect of the court's decision is that there is no implied or explicit school funding adequacy standard of any kind, minimum or otherwise, in our Constitution. We believe that to be alarming. The Foundation’s board of directors and their attorneys continue to believe that to be faulty reasoning.
It is important to note that in the majority of the 26 states where plaintiffs ultimately prevailed, they first lost in their attempts before the lower courts. The following demonstrates some of the positive effects brought about by adequacy lawsuits in states where plaintiffs prevailed:
It is more important than ever that we seek a meaningful explanation of the language in our Constitution to help our elected officials meet their obligations to Oregon’s children to ensure they get the education they both deserve and need to prepare for higher education and to meet the requirements of future employers. The economic costs of an inadequate education affect not only our personal checkbooks, but our state’s financial bottom line as well:
In addition to managing the litigation, the Foundation is committed to a public engagement process to help educate the public about the constitutional and statutory requirements for K-12 education and about the economic fallout from a less than adequate education.
How you can help:
If you have questions or comments, please enter them below, and I will respond promptly. For further information, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks – for all you do for Oregon’s kids.
|This page was last updated on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 .|