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Cleveland's Request To Drop Lawsuit Over Funding Denied

A county judge in Ohio has put the Cleveland school system in the awkward position of suing the state--against its own will.

The district had sought the dismissal of its own class action, which challenges the state's school-funding system, because its financial difficulties left it unable to afford the legal costs of pursuing the case.

Moreover, the district's lawyers argued, many of the same issues were being addressed in a separate lawsuit brought by the Perry County school system.

Both lawsuits challenge the constitutionality of the state's reliance on property taxes to raise money for schools.

But Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Daniel O. Corrigan concluded last month that Cleveland's lawsuit was the only one to raise issues such as the impact of the state's property-tax-abatement laws on district revenues. Citing the importance of such questions to other districts, he ordered the case to go to trial.

The matter is further complicated by the fact that a federal judge recently ordered a state takeover of the Cleveland school system. Judge Corrigan's decision therefore pits the district against those state officials empowered to oversee its affairs. (See Education Week, 3/15/95.)

Veteran Denied: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned a lower court's ruling that ordered a school district to hire a Vietnam War veteran as a teacher.

A century-old state law requires public employers to give special consideration to job applicants who are veterans of military service. The high court ruled April 4, however, that districts have the right to set hiring standards for teachers that exceed the basic requirement of a teaching certificate.

Gordon Brickhouse had argued in his lawsuit that, because of the veterans'-preference law, he was wrongfully denied a teaching job with the Spring-Ford district in 1990. (See Education Week, 11/23/94.)

Although the state appeals court agreed, the supreme court ruled that Mr. Brickhouse did not fully meet the teaching qualifications established by the

Vol. 14, Issue 30, Page 4

Published in Print: April 19, 1995, as News Update
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