Lexington – The Council for Better Education, a group including most of the state’s public school districts, will not appeal a Franklin Circuit Court ruling in its lawsuit against the General Assembly, effectively ending the three-year fight over whether the state is providing constitutionally adequate funding for its schools.
During the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents’ summer conference in Lexington Friday, CBE President Roger Marcum and attorney Byron Leet of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, recommended the action. A quick vote not to appeal the ruling by Judge Thomas Wingate followed.
“I know we’re all disappointed in the outcome,” Marcum said, “but it’s not over. We need to continue to make our case to the public.In an interview after the vote, Marcum, superintendent of Marion County Schools, said he believes the lawsuit has produced positive results.
“There are now more resources for the children of Kentucky and in the last session, we saw evidence that (the lawsuit) has accomplished that,” he said. “It made everyone aware that funding for public education is something that we have to be continually aware of. We didn’t solve the problem in 1990 with the Kentucky Education Reform Act and the needs continue to change as we move forward. I think the council has kept that issue on the front burner.
...Leet and Marcum pointed to a bright side to Wingate’s ruling. “Judge Wingate said there is a genuine question about whether the legislature is meeting its constitutional obligation, and that’s a decision for a court to make,” Leet said. “He rejected the defendants’ argument that they were immune from being sued and left the door open for the council or someone else to come back to the court in the future.
...For now, Marcum said the council will remain active and will follow up on its recent white paper, Progress but Not Enough Progress.