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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: school lawsuit

Judge narrows student fee lawsuit, tells parents to go to small claims court

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Idaho’s school funding system, in part because families are charged fees for various aspects of instruction, has suffered a major blow, after District Judge Richard Greenwood on Friday dismissed all but one school district from the suit, and said parents who object to fees in their districts could just file actions in small-claims court. Reporter Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News has a full report here. Russ Joki, the lead plaintiff, told Richert, “This is not a solution at all, and makes a mockery of the right to a free public education.”

Joki, a former Nampa School District superintendent, contended that fees he was required to pay for his grandchildren’s education violated the state Constitution, which requires the state to provide a system of free, common schools. Greenwood’s ruling dismissed 65 school districts from the lawsuit, leaving only the Meridian School District, to which two of the plaintiffs, including Joki, had directly paid fees. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

Judge takes issues under advisement in school fees lawsuit

As the grandfather of a Meridian High School student, Russell Joki submitted $85 in student fees at the start of the school year, reports Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News. Does that give Joki, a former Nampa school superintendent, standing to file a class-action lawsuit against 64 school districts? This was one of the issues debated — but not decided — in a Boise courtroom Monday afternoon, Richert reports; you can read his full report here. Judge Richard Greenwood took the issues under advisement, and gave no indication of when he would rule; among the other pending issues is whether to reconsider dismissing the state as a defendant.

School lawsuit heads to court today

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of student fees charged by public schools in Idaho heads back to a Boise courtroom this afternoon, reports Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News. District Judge Richard Greenwood dismissed the state as a defendant in the case last month, but the lawsuit continues against Idaho school districts. Lead plaintiff Russ Joki offered to put the case on hold if the parties agreed to mediation, but there was no agreement. Now, arguments on several points in the case, including bring the state back into the lawsuit and class-action status, will be heard in Greenwood’s courtroom this afternoon; you can read Richert’s full post here.

Judge dismisses state from school fees lawsuit

A state judge has agreed to dismiss the state from a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the fees many public schools charge for classes and the legality of Idaho's overall education funding system, the AP reports. Ruling from the bench, 4th District Judge Richard Greenwood sided with lawyers from the Attorney General's office, finding that an existing statute protects the state from being involved at this point in the case; the case will continue with Idaho school districts as the defendants. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Todd Dvorak.

Court brief asks judge to rule that Idaho’s school funding system is still unconstitutional

In the latest twist in an ongoing lawsuit over whether Idaho's school funding is adequate and constitutional, the ACLU of Idaho has filed a brief asking a judge to find that the state's method of paying for schools is still as unconstitutional as the Idaho Supreme Court found it to be back in 2005. The orgzniation contends the court shouldn't allow the Legislature to “avoid its duty” in the school funding case; click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

School lawsuit hearing reset to March

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A pre-trial hearing on a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of fees public schools charge for sports and other activities has been reset. On Thursday, 4th District Judge Lynn Norton scheduled a hearing for March 13 on a motion by the state to dismiss the lawsuit filed by former Nampa school superintendent Russell Joki. Joki contends that fees assessed for classes, supplies and activities violate Idaho's constitutional promise of a free public education. The lawsuit names The Department of Education, the Idaho Legislature and all 115 of Idaho's public school districts. But logistical snags are bogging down the case. For now, the biggest hurdle is getting the lawsuit served to all of the school districts.Norton said it's not fair to move forward until each district has a chance to respond.

Judge to hear arguments in January in school funding case

A judge will hear arguments early next year on whether Idaho's school fees are unconstitutional, reports AP reporter Rebecca Boone. The lawsuit, from former Nampa school district superintendent Russ Joki and a group of parents and grandparents, contends that Idaho's schools are charging fees that violate the state Constitution's guarantee of a free public education. A judge will hear arguments Jan. 10 on Joki's motion for a summary judgment; he's also filed reports from two experts backing his claims, saying Idaho's school funding has sharply declined over the last 25 years, worsening problems that prompted the state's school funding system to be declared unconstitutional in 2005. “If the Legislature's system of funding was unconstitutional in 1999, as found by the Supreme Court in 2005, it is even more so today,” one of the reports states. Click below for Boone's full article.

School fee lawsuit expands, questions Idaho’s school funding system

A lawsuit charging that Idaho schools are violating the state Constitution by charging fees has expanded to include wider school-funding issues at the heart of a long-running lawsuit that prompted the state's school funding system to be ruled unconstitutional in 2005 by the Idaho Supreme Court, the AP reports. An amended complaint in the fee lawsuit adds a second cause of action, charging that state lawmakers have ignored the 2005 Idaho Supreme Court ruling.

Deputy Attorney General Mike Gilmore told AP reporter Rebecca Boone, “There have been changes. The issue now is whether enough has changed, and that's why there's a lawsuit.” Robert Huntley, attorney for the parents and students bringing the lawsuit, said the public should be “ashamed and alarmed” at the continuing deficiencies in Idaho's school funding system. Click below to read Boone's full report.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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