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Transfer granted to school financing case

September 29, 2008

The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer last week to a case of first impression involving the courts' authority to review the state's school financing formula.

In Joseph Bonner, et al. v. Mitch Daniels, et al., No. 49A02-0702-CV-188, nine public school students and their families in eight school districts filed a class-action suit in 2006, arguing the school funding formula violates the Indiana Constitution's Education Clause.

The argument was that the formula didn't provide enough money for all children in the state to have a fair chance to learn.

The Court of Appeals overturned former Marion Superior Judge Cale Bradford's grant of the state's motion to dismiss the suit, finding the plaintiffs had standing to sue. The majority remanded the case to Marion Superior Court to determine whether Indiana's current public school system through its funding provides all students with an adequate education. Judge Bradford has since been named to the Court of Appeals.

Judge Ezra Friedlander dissented, writing the judicial branch shouldn't invade the power of the legislative branch.

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