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Education Coalition Sues California Over School Funding

Publication Date: 
May 21, 2010
The Sacramento Bee
Laurel Rosenhall and Melody Gutierrez

The Youth and Education Law Project (YELP) of the Mills Legal Clinic at Stanford Law School is co-counsel with Bingham McCutchen in Robles-Wong v. California representing individual plaintiffs, including the named plaintiff Maya Robles-Wong. Under the direction of Professor Bill Koski, the Youth and Education Law Project provides Stanford Law students the opportunity to represent youth and families in special education and school discipline matters, community outreach and education, school reform litigation, policy research, and legal advocacy. This lawsuit asks the court to compel the State of California to align its school finance system—its funding policies and mechanisms—with the educational program that the State has put in place.

Laurel Rosenhall and Melody Gutierrez of The Sacramento Bee filed this story on the lawsuit:

California's system for funding public schools is irrational, unstable and in need of overhaul, a lawsuit filed Thursday asserts, and prevents 6 million students from receiving the education they are entitled to under the state Constitution.

The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of students, parents and education groups against the governor and the state, puts California on a growing list of states slapped with what lawyers call "adequacy" suits.


The suit comes three years after a landmark set of studies by Stanford University examined what it would take to get California students to meet state and federal goals for student achievement.

One study concluded that schools need 53 percent to 71 percent more funding if students are to meet federal No Child Left Behind goals for 2011-12. Another found that schools need 40 percent more funding to meet California's achievement goals for schools. Schools with large numbers of low-income children need vastly more funding than schools that serve the middle class to achieve the same results, the studies found.