Idaho school funding formula under the court microscope again


Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, says the Legislature may have to intervene on behalf of businesses that feel their property rights are threatened by local ordinances.

Idaho’s K-12 funding formula for public education has been challenged in court as early as 1990 and, most recently, in October 2012, says a story in the Coeur d’Alene Press that was originally published in the Idaho Falls newspaper.

The story lists a number of court challenges and rulings on the formula and how the Legislature has addressed the issue. Rulings have found lawmakers failing to meet the Idaho Constitution requirement for a “thorough system of public, free schools.”

On Jan. 10 in Ada County, the latest challenge to the Legislature’s approach to the funding formula will be heard. It was filed by a University of Idaho professor, Russ Joki, who has also been a school superintendent in Idaho and Oregon. He contends that fees imposed by schools to cover costs  are unconstitutional in violation of the “free” provision in the Idaho Constitution.

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