School funding lawsuit goes down in flames

Recently, when the governor signed the state’s new smoking ban, I noted that I wasn’t terribly surprised or excited by it. The ban seemed like a foregone conclusion to me.

I felt the same way yesterday when news broke that a judge ruled against the school group that is suing the state for millions more in education funding.

It’s not that I don’t think schools could use more money. It’s just that I never thought a lawsuit by the schools against the hand that feeds them ever had a good chance at success. When the economy collapsed and the state budget went in the tank, the idea that a judge was going to mandate hundreds of millions more dollars for education funding became unimaginable.

Still, after the dust settles from the lawsuit, there will remain a lot of people who think education in South Dakota is under-funded. The fight will continue.

2 thoughts on “School funding lawsuit goes down in flames

  1. Seth, the article today said that it was a group of schools that were in the lawsuit. Can you tell us who was in that group?

  2. Actually, a handful of parents and students were the official plaintiffs.

    Additionally, the AP story said “the legal challenge was supported by about two-thirds of the state‚Äôs 161 school districts.” I don’t know exactly what that means. Back in August, the judge in the case ruled that the plaintiffs could not be financially supported by school districts. There was a fund of about $600,000 of pooled donations from roughly 100 school districts that suddenly became worthless.

    The plaintiffs were going to appeal that ruling, but I don’t know if they did or how it came out.

    This whole thing started with an adequacy study commissioned by the South Dakota Alliance for Education. The study claimed that South Dakota was under-funding K-12 education by as much as $133 million. The adequacy study was funded with help from 125 school districts, and you can see a list of those districts here: http://www.sdallianceforeducation.org/object/u/DistrictsList.pdf.

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