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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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