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Court Sides With Schools


The 15-year-old legal battle over who is responsible to help pay for repairing decrepit schools ended in the Idaho Supreme Court last week, when the court upheld a 2001 district court ruling that the State of Idaho had failed in its constitutional duty "to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools," wrote Justice Linda Copple-Trout. Idaho is the only state that provides no direct support for building public schools. The suit began in 1990, when a group of 22 small, and largely impoverished school districts banded together to tackle the state over Idaho's hands-off approach. In the 4-1 ruling, the court scolded the Idaho Legislature for continually quibbling over the details of a few unsafe schools, while ignoring the problems with the insufficiency of the system by which school building repairs and construction are funded. State Democratic legislators were quick to address the ruling as a landmark step toward improving Idaho's schools.

"We have known all along that the state was not living up to the standards set by the Idaho Constitution, but every year, Republican leaders have denied the problem existed," said Sen. Bert Marley, (D-McGammon), who is running for State Superintendent of Schools.

For a link to the ruling, visit