South Dakota high court upholds school funding system

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 01, 2011 11:33 AM
South Dakota high court upholds school funding system

CHICAGO (Reuters) - South Dakota's Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state's school funding system even though a lawsuit raised "serious questions" about the system, according to the court's unanimous ruling released on Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed by a group of public school students and their parents, claimed the state failed to provide all children with an adequate and quality education.

In its ruling, the high court said evidence presented in the case "raises serious questions about whether the state aid formula is based on actual costs and whether local taxing procedures and caps might have constitutional implications."

"Even so, reasonable doubt exists that the statutory funding mechanisms or level of funding are unconstitutional," the court concluded.

Governor Dennis Daugaard welcomed the ruling, saying the state legislature and not the courts is the appropriate place to determine school funding.

"I believe we should focus on student achievement, not spending, as the best measure of educational success," the governor said in a statement. "That approach is very consistent with the supreme court's decision."

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by James Dalgleish)