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The Idaho State Supreme Court upheld a ruling Thursday in favor of a Meridian man who said public school student fees were unconstitutional.
In 2012, Russell Joki launched a lawsuit against the State of Idaho, the Idaho Legislature, and the West Ada County School District, arguing the fees imposed on students—including his grandchildren—negate the guarantee of a free public education. In particular, Joki pointed to fees required for his grandchildren to register for school and for chemistry, art and sports medicine classes. Joki cited Article IX, Section 1 of the Idaho Constitution, which reads, "It shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools."
The State Board of Education, the Idaho Legislature and the State of Idaho pushed back, asking for a dismissal, but in Nov. 2015, Idaho Fourth District Judge Richard Greenwood ruled, "Where a class is offered as part of the regular academic courses of the school, the course must be offered without charge."
The State of Idaho appealed the ruling to the Idaho Supreme Court and on Thursday, the high court upheld the lower court's original decision. "[Joki's] claim fell squarely within the definition of a constitutionally based education claim because the legislature duty is to provide free common schools," read the Idaho Supreme Court's summary.
You can read the full ruling here: See related PDF