Consortium applauds Judge Long’s ruling
For Immediate Release: October 28, 2005
Contact: Joe Martin, 404-872-9651, www.casfg.org
ATLANTA - The Consortium for Adequate School Funding in Georgia praised today’s ruling by Judge Elizabeth E. Long in a landmark case for the future of education in Georgia. In her ruling, Judge Long rejected the motion by the State to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Consortium and others.
The significance of this ruling was underscored by Dr. William A. Hunter, president of the Consortium and superintendent of the Brantley County Schools, who said, “This decision allows the case to move forward so that the courts can decide whether the State is providing an adequate education for every child in Georgia. We will continue to work with the State in finding the best way to achieve this goal.”
Dr. Jeffrey C. Welch, treasurer of the Consortium and superintendent of the Oglethorpe County Schools, added, “This is great day for the children of Georgia. The State will now have to show that it is providing enough support to our schools to enable every student to gain the opportunities they need and deserve.”
The Consortium, a coalition of 51 local school systems, along with 5 of its member systems and 33 students and 17 parents in these systems, filed a lawsuit against the State of Georgia on September 14, 2004. The complaint cited extensive evidence for their contention that the State is failing to provide an adequate education for every student in Georgia, as required by Paragraph 1 in Section 1 of Article VIII of the Georgia Constitution.
According to Joseph G. Martin, Jr., executive director of the Consortium, the lawyers for the State attempted to get the case dismissed on procedural and legal grounds. They had argued that the financing of education in Georgia is solely a local responsibility and that the courts have no right to determine whether the State is fulfilling its duties under the Georgia Constitution.
The case can now go to a trial at which evidence will be presented by both sides. However, the State may appeal Judge Long’s ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court in a continuing effort to prevent the case from going to trial, according to Martin.
Martin explained that the plaintiffs are not asking the courts to tell the State how much it should spend on education, but only to decide whether the State is providing an adequate education for every student in Georgia. If ordered to do so, the Georgia General Assembly will have to determine the steps that are needed to meet the State’s constitutional obligation.
There is a wave of similar litigation across the nation. According to data complied by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, 20 of the last 26 adequacy cases have been decided in favor of the plaintiffs.
Despite the filing of its lawsuit, Hunter emphasized the willingness of the Consortium to cooperate with the State in seeking ways to solve this problem.
For further information, contact Joe Martin at 404-872-9651 or visit the Consortium's website at www.casfg.org.
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