Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Like School Taxes? You'll LOVE This

HT to GOP3 for an excellent 'catch,' (not mentioned in the MSM account of the debate.)

During the debate, both Langley and Colon mentioned that the City Attorney serves as counsel to Milwaukee Public Schools. During the audience Q&A, then, I asked a question like, “Rep. Colon, you’ve mentioned MPS and educational equity several times. Would you aggressively file litigation to pursue broad policy changes?”

Colon responded by pledging to look for a lawsuit on behalf of MPS attacking the current school financing formula. He said we needed to vindicate the constitutional rights of K-12 students in MPS. He talked about how choice schools are shifting and increasing the financial burden on MPS.

Langley responded by saying that his office had evaluated the precedent (presumably Kukor and Vincent) and that he was meeting with MPS officials tomorrow to discuss litigation strategy.

This could be big folks.

He said a mouthful there.

This is all part of a nationwide litigation movement by teachers unions, school administrators, and professors suing for more education spending by state governments. Using state constitutional guarantees (in Wisconsin, the phrase is “as nearly as uniform as practicable”), these lawsuits ask courts to order the state to spend more - we are now generally in the “adequacy” phase of the effort.

And our intrepid GOP3 reporter provides an example of the results of this "litigation movement":

In 2003, the [Arkansas Supreme] Court gave the state until January 1, 2004 to perform a cost study and establish a constitutional funding system. After belated action from the legislature in June 2004 that increased state school aid by $400 million (17 percent), the court closed the case but reopened it a year later, after agreeing with plaintiffs that the 2005-2007 state budget again failed to deliver on promises made in 2004 to adequately fund schools. In the 2007 legislative session that ended this spring, the Arkansas legislature added another $122 million in state aid, on top of $82.5 million added in the 2006 session. For construction and repair of school facilities, which were also deemed inequitable in the court’s earlier rulings, the legislature authorized $120 million in 2005, an additional $50 million in 2006, and, in this year’s session, passed Act 1237, which appropriated $456 million for facilities, on top of another $220 million in facilities funding from other funding sources and other legislation that implemented procedures for state oversight of facilities construction and renovation.

GOP3 also mentions WEAC's endorsement of Loophole Louie, who has mumbled about the issues mentioned here.

Offhand, it's possible that the overall tax rate in Wisconsin could climb to 75% of incomes...

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