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Oregon Supreme Court issues ‘mixed’ ruling on school funding lawsuit Print E-mail

Plaintiffs in the school funding lawsuit that sought to require the legislature to meets its Constitutional obligation to sufficiently fund schools received a mixed decision today from the Oregon Supreme Court.

“We,” the court ruled, “now conclude that the legislature has failed to fund the Oregon public school system at the level sufficient to meet the quality education goals established by law and that plaintiffs were entitled to a declaratory judgment to that effect.  However, we also conclude that, in adopting Article VIII, section 8, Oregon voters did not intend to achieve the level of funding required in the constitutional provision through judicial enforcement.”

The court agreed that Article VIII, Section 8 of the Oregon Constitution “directs the legislature to provide funding sufficient for the public schools to meet quality goals established by law,” but ruled that sufficiency has not necessarily been established beyond the requirements of Article VII, Section 3, which, the court said, “requires the legislature to establish free public schools that will provide a basic education.”  (Read the entire Supreme Court decision.)

The decision is now being analyzed by the Oregon School Funding Defense Foundation to determine what the decision means and what the next steps will be.  COSA will update you as we learn more.

The school funding lawsuit (Pendleton School District vs. the State of Oregon) was brought in March 2006 by a group of school districts and parents who alleged that lawmakers have failed to meet their Constitutional obligation to adequately fund schools.   After a series of court decisions and appeals, the Oregon Supreme Court’s ruling sends the case back to the Multnomah County Circuit Court for a “declaratory judgment consistent with this opinion.”  (Read background on the case.)

This page was last updated on Friday, January 23, 2009 .