Fight for Public School Funding Takes Strange Turn

Based on the last ruling, I thought that it was possible the school districts would consider not using taxpayer funds to sue the state (which defends itself with taxpayer funds) over the funding of public schools in South Dakota.

Not so. Now we’ve another group adding its voice to the fray:

Thursday, the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, or ASBSD, filed an amicus brief with the state Supreme Court; a “friend of the court” statement that can only be filed by someone not party to the lawsuit. The organization hasn’t been involved up to this point, either officially or financially, but officials feel compelled to stand up for struggling schools before it’s too late.
The organization says Judge Lori Wilbur looked at overall test scores when deciding whether the South Dakota educational system is flawed. But it says she “disregarded the plight of disadvantaged students and poor school districts” struggling to educate “without appropriate programs, services, and facilities.”

ASBSD also says the state holds students to high academic standards, but doesn’t consider whether school districts can afford to teach to those standards. Because of this, officials want the high court to declare that school funding decisions must be based on the costs of meeting those state requirements.

One wonders just who the members of this group are? Presumably they are also members of the various school boards in the state–members of the same school boards which voted to sue the state. I wonder just how much of a disinterested party ASBSD really is and if it in fact should have filed a friend of the court brief at all.

From the organization’s website, we have the following:

Associated School Boards of South Dakota is a private, non-profit organization representing more than 950 local school board members . . .

Sounds like they have a dog in this fight (and that the reason they didn’t speak up earlier might have been because they were already speaking–through each of the several school boards).

This just does not appear right to me. The more I think about it, the more I am certain that an amicus brief was an inappropriate move on the part of ASBSD.