A second lawsuit aimed at reform for California’s public education finance system has been filed in Alameda County Superior Court.
This lawsuit is similar to the Robles-Wong v. California, filed 2010 by the Californian School Board Association (CSBA), the Association of California School Administration (ACSA) and the California State PTA.
In the latest suit, a coalition of grassroots groups and individuals representing low-income students and parents makes two claims:
- The states school-funding system fails to provide children with an opportunity to obtain a meaningful education in violation of the Education Code.
- That this failure violates the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution.
“We’re asking the court to declare the current funding system unconstitutional and to order that a new one be created,” said Howard Rice of Public Advocates Inc., a San Francisco-based public interest law firm.
The coalition consists of the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE), Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Californians for Justice (CFJ), and San Francisco Organization Project (SFOP), plus more than 20 individual students and parents.
The governor was asked about his response to the CQE lawsuit. Andrea McCarthy a spokeswoman for the governor said: “The governor is ready to work with the plaintiffs in this case, but multiple studies have pointed out funding alone will not solve the fundamental problems facing our schools. Throwing more money into our broken education system will not benefit students unless it is accompanied by extensive and systematic reform.”
The lawsuit’s contention is that education is a fundamental right of young people provided by the California Constitution and the California Supreme Court. However, school years are being shortened, critical teacher positions are being eliminated as well as course offerings and there is a shortage of instructional material and school supplies.
The suit claims these shortages are at higher rates in urban communities, which unconstitutionally violates the rights of African-American and Latino students.
“We have to sue. Not only are we losing teachers and seeing class sizes skyrocket, but districts are eliminating librarians, nurses, school psychologists, courses in music, P.E. and electives,” said Giselle Quezada from ACCE.