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Litigation to Fix School Finance

On May 20, 2010, AUSD joined a broad coalition of plaintiffs and filed a historic lawsuit against the State of California.  The lawsuit, known as Robles-Wong, et al. v. State of California, alleges that the State's education finance system is unconstitutional and sought a judgment ordering the state to establish a school finance system that provides all students an equal opportunity to meet the academic goals set by the State.

Robles-Wong, et al. v. State of California was filed in the Superior Court of California in Alameda County.  Specifically, the suit asked the court to compel the State to align its school finance system—meaning its funding policies and mechanisms—with the educational program that the State has put in place. To do this, plaintiffs alleged, the State must:

  • Scrap its existing finance system
  • Determine how much it actually costs to fund public education to meet the State’s own program requirements and the needs of California’s school children
  • Develop and implement a new finance system consistent with Constitutional requirements.

The lawsuit was filed by a broad coalition of plaintiffs, including more than 60 individual students and their families, nine school districts from throughout the State, the California School Boards Association (CSBA), California State PTA, and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Maya Robles-Wong, the named plaintiff, was a student at Alameda High School when the suit was filed. Alameda Unified School District is one of the plaintiff districts. Four Alameda families are also plaintiffs.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the California Teachers Association filed an intervening complaint (PDF).

In response, the State filed a demurrer and motion to strike the two complaints, seeking to dismiss both lawsuits. The plaintiffs then filed their response (PDF). Judge Steven Brick heard arguments for and against the demurrer on December 10, 2010. The court dismissed the case on November 3, 2011.

On January 25, 2012, the plaintiffs filed their notice of appeal (PDF) to the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District, Division 3. They filed their opening brief (PDF) on July 6, 2012. The Robles-Wong matter – docketed as A134424 – will be heard together with its companion case, Campaign for Quality Education v. California, case no. A134423. All briefing was completed in January 2013.

In January of 2016, the Court announced that oral arguments would be heard on January 27, 2016.

 

Sources: Stanford Law School, FixSchoolFinance.org

 

For additional information on this historic lawsuit, see links below: