February 26, 1997 in Idaho

School Districts’ Suit Over Budget Gaining Steam

Associated Press

Stingy state budget proposals for education are reigniting interest in a 6-year-old lawsuit against the Idaho Legislature over thorough funding for public schools.

Idaho Schools for Equal Educational Opportunities formed in 1991 when it filed a lawsuit against the Legislature accusing lawmakers of not giving school districts enough money to provide a thorough education.

The suit contends local districts should not have to rely on override levies for basic funding. It also seeks state support for a school building and maintenance backlog that some officials say is approaching $1 billion.

The lawsuit went to the Idaho Supreme Court, which sent it back to 4th District Court.

Now Idaho Schools for Equal Educational Opportunities members are preparing for a November court date.

Moscow Superintendent Jack M. Hill is the group’s secretary. He said recent attempts by legislators to trim the public schools’ already bare-bones budget are fueling support for the suit.

Hill and Genesee Superintendent David Neumann, who is the Idaho Schools for Equal Educational Opportunities president, wrote a letter asking group members to each contribute $1,000 to the legal battle.

“This lawsuit is on the minds of our legislators,” the letter stated. “We need to keep the pressure on so that a reasonable legislative solution may surface this session. We would rather see our concerns addressed by the Legislature than be forced to play our hand in court.”

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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