State Ed Groups Contemplate Going to Trial

POLITICO New York’s Keshia Clukey: State education organizations are plotting their next move after the state’s highest court dismissed much of a lawsuit that claims the state is not equitably funding public schools. Organizers of the suit, New Yorkers for Students’ Education Rights v. New York, are weighing whether to pursue more evidence from multiple school districts, which, judging from previous litigation, could extend the case by months or even years.

“We had hoped for a relatively streamlined resolution,” said Douglas Schwarz, co-counsel for the plaintiffs a coalition of statewide organizations, parents and education advocates. “The court hasn’t given us that, but it has said that all of our essential claims are viable. We’re just going to have to take more time and work to establish them.” “We’ll do it the hard way,” he added.

Attorneys tried to simplify the process, alleging the state failed to meet its constitutional obligation to provide a “sound basic education” in New York City and Syracuse schools, but the state Court of Appeals this week released an opinion saying the claims are not specific enough to rule on behalf of the state’s more than 700 school districts.

But it did say the case could go to trial on the behalf of the two districts. Schwarz said the coalition of plaintiffs are currently discussing the best strategy moving forward. If they are able to submit evidence for other districts, it could help continue the push for a ruling impacting all districts in the state. “It’s one of those things that we’re going to be giving consideration to,” Schwarz said. To prove these cases takes “takes a lot of time and a lot of work,” he said.” Read more here.