Education A State Capitals Roundup

Teachers’ School Finance Suit Thrown Out By Indiana Judge

By Michele McNeil — February 06, 2007 1 min read

Indiana

A judge in Indiana has dismissed a school finance lawsuit brought by the state teachers’ union, holding that it targeted the wrong officials.

In a four-page ruling last week, Marion Superior Court Judge Cale J. Bradford said the Indiana State Teachers’ Association, which sued on behalf of nine students, cannot sue Gov. Mitch Daniels or Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen K. Reed because they aren’t responsible for the school funding formula.

That left one defendant, the state board of education, which is responsible for implementing the formula. But Judge Bradford dismissed the claim against the board, too, by ruling that there’s not a likely solution to the problem.

His ruling said that lawyers for the students are dissatisfied with how the school funding formula is weighted and implemented, not with the formula itself. Judge Bradford also noted that the court must recognize a separation of powers between the three branches of government. In other states, some judges have been reluctant to issue orders that would require the legislature, a separate branch of government, to make changes.

In its suit, the union argued that under Indiana’s system of school funding, some students aren’t getting the education they’re guaranteed by the state constitution. As of last week, the union had not decided whether to appeal.

A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2007 edition of Education Week