Count 5

Count 5 - As a result of the State's actions as alleged in Counts 1 - 4, the civil rights of students and taxpayers continue to be violated without any viable recourse or remedy within the State of California.

1.    There is no recourse for students who are being denied their constitutional right to equality of educational opportunity within the State of California. Nor is there any recourse for taxpayers, who are being forced to pay ever increasing taxes and fees, or being forced to to fundraise or accept advertisements and donations to achieve equality of educational opportunity. California has a constitutionally mandated public education system that is in decline as a result of inadequate funding. Every judicial victory for students and taxpayers to remedy funding inequities in State Court and to improve the quality of education for all students, is appealed by the State's Attorney General using tax payer money. The continued long and drawn out legal battles, in effect, prevent parties to the litigation (mainly students) from receiving the benefit for which they are suing in time to make any real difference in the quality of education they receive within the State of California.

 

2.     For over 41 years, starting with Serrano I (1971) and II (1976), the State has been challenged in Court to correct education funding inequities. The Courts have compelled the State to meet it's constitutional obligation to all students; and yet there has been no real change in funding equities; just a continual shift in picking winners and losers under each new funding system. Like it's predecessors before it California's new education funding system is no different. The State still maintains a system that bases funding on district wealth, and now the race and ethnicity of its students. While the new funding system improves funding for Districts with high concentrations of students who are English Language Learners, Receiving Free and Reduced lunch, or are in Foster Care; the system still fails to provide every student with equal opportunity to achieve a quality education.

 

3.     In addition to funding based on wealth, the new system also looks at the race and ethnicity of students in determining funding levels for individual districts. Those districts funded solely by the Base Grant are receiving substantially lower levels of funding than Basic Aid Districts and Districts with a high percentage of students who are English Language Learners, Receiving Free and Reduced lunch or are in Foster Care. By intentionally setting the Base Grant below what it actually costs to mininumly educate a student, the State is intentionally underfunding certain districts (districts with a low percentage of students who are English Language Learners, receiving Free and Reduced lunch or are in Foster Care) with the expectation that these districts have the financial ability to equalize funding inequities through increased municipal taxes, fundraising and donations. The State is using California's public education system to promote a political agenda that seeks to redistribute wealth, rather than provide every student with equal opportunity to achieve a quality education.

 

4.     The California Constitution gives education funding a unique priority above all other state funding obligations by requiring

 

that "from all state revenues there shall first be set apart the monies to be applied by the State for support of the public school system..." Cal. Const. art. XVI, §8. (Emphasis added)

"First" means that the State is constitutionally mandated to provide school districts with adequate funding to provide every student with equal opportunities for learning before the State can fund any other program or entitlement.

Rather then provide adequate funding for every student to have equal opportunity to achieve a quality education, the State uses revenue that the Constitution mandates for education on new programs and entitlements that are not mandated by the constitution. 

Districts funded solely by the Base Grant will be at a disadvantage to other districts in their ability to provide students with opportunities to obtain high quality staff, program expansion and variety, beneficial teacher-pupil ratios and class sizes, modern equipment and materials, and high-quality buildings.  Such deprivation of student and taxpayer rights is the direct result of a State Legislature and a Governor that puts a political agenda and the interests of political donors before their constitutionally mandated obligation to students. Such invidious discrimination is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of both the State and Federal Constitution.

In March of 2010 the California Fair Political Practices Commission compiled a report entitled "Big Money Talks- the 15 Special Interests that spent $1 billion to shape California Government." In the report, the FPPC concluded: "The conclusion is inescapable: A handful of special interest have a disproportionate amount of influence on California elections and public policy". In the report, the California Teachers Association spent $38,516,307 to influence California elections and public policy and may explain how California's elected leaders continue to represent the interests of public employee unions at the expense of students, and in violation of the California Constitution and relevant case law.

Source: http://www.fppc.ca.gov/reports/Report38104.pdf  

A continued lack of adequate funding, and discrimination against students living in districts with a low percentage of students that are English Language Learners,  receiving Free and Reduced Lunch, and are Foster kids is the direct result of a failure on the part of California's State Attorney General to uphold and enforce the laws of the State fairly and impartially, so that every Californian can enjoy economic prosperity and equal opportunity.