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Schools sue over state funding formula

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Three Indiana school districts are suing the state over the Indiana's per-pupil school-funding formula.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Hamilton County, Franklin Township Community Schools in Marion County, and Middlebury Community Schools in Elkhart County filed the suit, Hamilton Southeastern Schools, et al. v. Mitch Daniels, et al., No. 29D01-1002-PL-198, today in Hamilton Superior Court.

The schools argue that the state's non-uniform school-funding scheme has a negative impact on its students. The suit challenges the constitutionality of Title 20, Article 43 of Indiana Code, which sets out the state's scheme for distributing education funds to school corporations, saying it violates the Education Clause of the Indiana Constitution.

The suit says the three schools receive dramatically less funding than other school corporations. The three schools had per-pupil revenues of approximately $5,100 in 2009; Indianapolis Public Schools had per-pupil revenues of more than $7,800.

The suit also alleges the 2010 changes to the school-funding scheme will add to the disparity. The schools are represented by Franczek Radelet in Chicago and Riley Bennett & Egloff in Indianapolis.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is disappointed that the school systems decided to file a lawsuit in order to challenge the funding formula. He said in a statement that the costly litigation should have been avoided and the issue would be better handled by legislators.

"The costs for the schools' lawyers to bring this suit and for the State's lawyers to defend it, and for the Court to preside over it ultimately are paid through the same source: taxpayers' wallets," Zoeller said.

The school funding issue arose in a case of first impression last year before the Indiana Supreme Court, Joseph and LaTanya Bonner, et al. v. Mitch Daniels, et al., No. 49S02-0809-CV-525, in which the justices voted 4-1 to dismiss the case. The plaintiffs in that case sought a judicial declaration that Indiana's system of school funding violates the Education Clause, the Due Course of Law Clause, and the Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Indiana Constitution.

The justices ruled even if Indiana's public school system fall short of where it should be in providing quality education, courts aren't constitutionally able to set standards or establish a financing formula because that's up to the General Assembly.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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