Lawsuit filed alleging officials ignore constitutional mandate to fund quality education for all students
More than a dozen parents from across the state filed a lawsuit on June 13, 2019, on behalf of students in underfunded public schools in Massachusetts. The suit condemns Massachusetts state education officials for ignoring the constitutional mandate that requires the Commonwealth to fund a quality education for all students. The lawsuit alleges constitutional violations of students’ education and civil rights as a result of the state’s inadequate school funding system.
“Students in underfunded school districts are being deprived of the opportunity to receive the education to which they are entitled,” alleges the lawsuit, which was filed with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. “Public schools are increasingly unable to provide sufficient resources to meet ever-increasing educational challenges.”
Who We Are
The nonprofit Council for Fair School Finance is modeled on a previous group that fought for fair school funding from the late 1970s until 2005, litigating the landmark McDuffy and Hancock legal cases.
The council has reconvened after a 14-year hiatus because the Commonwealth’s failure to sufficiently fund public education violates the Education Clause of the Massachusetts Constitution. In the 1993 McDuffy case, the Supreme Judicial Court declared what a constitutionally adequate education system must accomplish for its students.
In the 2005 Hancock decision, the court told the Commonwealth’s executive and legislative branches to keep working toward accomplishing what the Education Clause commands. Since Hancock, however, the Commonwealth has faltered, severely and repeatedly. Its so-called reforms have not improved education, closed the achievement gap, or provided communities in need with the financial resources to meet their constitutional duty.