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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.