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September 01, 2011 06:03 PM

Both Sides React To School Funding Ruling

The South Dakota Supreme Court says there's nothing wrong with the state's system for funding school districts.

Thursday’s ruling upholds a lower court decision that a lawsuit filed by school districts across the state failed to prove the system doesn't provide enough money or harms student achievement.

The South Dakota Supreme Court says the Coalition of Schools failed to prove the state's school funding system is unconstitutional.

The decision comes as a disappointment for Attorney Scott Abdallah, who represented the schools through the lengthy court battle.

"Obviously we would have liked to prevail on the ultimate questions as to whether the system was unconstitutional," Attorney Scott Abdallah said.

But, Abdallah says while they lost the case, the ruling still had many positives which could pave the way for future cases.

"The court adapted our interpretation of the constitution and what is required, the court also reaffirmed these issue are appropriate for the court, and that if there are violations that occur in the future that the court is the appropriate body to decide what's constitutional and what's unconstitutional," Abdallah said.

Meanwhile, Governor Dennis Daugaard is also responding to the high court's decision.

"I'm pleased with this opinion because the appropriate place to determine school funding is the Legislature, not the courts. I believe we should focus on student achievement, not spending, as the best measure of educational success," Governor Dennis Daugaard said.

Attorney General Marty Jackley also released a statement praising the decision but also stressed the need for school funding.

About two-thirds of school districts in the state have helped pay legal expenses in the lawsuit.

For more information on the SD Supreme Court, click here.

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