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Agreement Brings End To School Funding Lawsuit

September 12, 2011, 5:14 PM by Nicole Winters

Agreement Brings End To School Funding Lawsuit
SIOUX FALLS, SD - South Dakota's school funding lawsuit is over.

Both sides have reached an agreement to keep the case from returning to court. The state will pay the court costs, and the Coalition of Schools will not revisit the issue for at least ten years.

It was a lengthy court battle that ultimately ended with a Supreme Court decision saying South Dakota's school funding formula is constitutional. Now the question of who should pay nearly $60,000 in court costs for the nearly six year case is also settled. The state has agreed to pay the fees.

"This is a good resolution for the state for a couple of reasons. It serves to end this litigation and limits future litigation. It also avoids the harsh result of forcing a parent to pay the costs or wasting tax payer money," Attorney General Marty Jackley said.

The two sides reached the agreement early Monday morning.

Under the deal, the parents and schools involved in the lawsuit will not be able be involved in a similar legal challenge for ten years. But attorney Scott Abdallah says the agreement does not prevent other parents or districts from challenging the state in the future.

"It preserves the rights of folks who need to have their rights preserved going forward. But it also brings a fair conclusion and resolution to this case," Abdallah said.

Abdallah says while they ultimately lost the case, the court did rule in their favor on some points, and that could pave the way for future lawsuits. He doesn't see that happening anytime in the near future.

Jackley says school funding needs to go back to the legislature.

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