Good news folks, AUSD along with other school district throughout California have filed a lawsuit against the State of California arguing that the funding mechanisms for public education are broken, but at the core of the argument is that California has not met its constitutional mandate to give California students equal access to public school education in a “system of common schools.”
Susan Davis at In Alameda broke the story early yesterday morning and even more notably is the parent to one of the many plaintiffs who have joined together in this suit. Critics of AUSD have long complained that the school district has not done enough to force Sacramento to do something about the inequitable funding levels from school district to school district. But this is not a last minute reaction to Measure E critics. Oh no. This is something that has been in the works for years and has finally culminated into this collaborative effort. School boardmember Mike McMahon has cataloged a timeline of events leading up to this lawsuit.
But what would a positive step in the right direction be without its share of detractors. Even though opponents do not want their pocketbooks to be plundered to fund their local schools. Apparently, fighting for equal funding for all kids in California can be spun as a bad thing. After the news of the lawsuit broke yesterday, the anti Measure E folks posted this on their Facebook/web page:
Of course, if the Committee Against Measure E (CAME) would have done some fairly bare bones reading about the lawsuit, they would know that the lawyers and legal organizations that are assisting are doing this all pro bono. From Susan D.’s blog post:
In addition to AUSD, the Alpine, Del Norte County, Folsom Cordova, Hemet, Porterville, Riverside, San Francisco, and Santa Ana unified school districts are plaintiffs in the suit. So, too, is the California PTA, the California School Boards Association, and the Association of California School Administrators. And all of them are being represented, pro bono, by law firms up and down the state, including every major school law firm in the state. (The individual Alameda plaintiffs are being represented by the Stanford Youth and Education Law Project, as well as Bingham McCutcheon.)
But CAME doesn’t let facts get in the way of trying to push its agenda.
As an aside, it must be exhausting being so negative all the time. Being against everything seems like a such a chore.
It’s important to note that despite these positive efforts, this doesn’t negate the necessity for Measure E. Any lawsuit, especially with a bureaucracy the size of the State of California is going to be a long hard slog. This issue won’t be resolve tomorrow, heck possibly all the students currently connected to the lawsuit might be out of public school by the time the appeals and final determination is made, but this is a long term strategy and if successful will have long reaching affects for all California students. And I doubt the State is going to go down without a huge fight. According to the LA Times blog, this was the official reponse from the Governor’s office:
“The governor will oppose this lawsuit and believes the state will prevail. The funding of public education in California has long been and continues to be a top priority of California, even in bad economic and budget times.
Also, the fact that a lawsuit was filed is indicative of how intractable the problem is. That it is not as easy as some opponents have suggested to just knock on a few Congresspeople’s doors and say, “Please, sir, I want some more” with hand outstretched.
Here’s the neat thing, the lawsuit is Robles-Wong v. State of California, local Alameda High student Maya Robles-Wong is the lead plaintiff to the suit. To follow the activities around this suit, you can keep tabs on this nifty website.
Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. there will be a rally at Alameda High School to support our schools. Come out and show your support!