Circuit Judge Chris Piazza today ruled against the 355-student Deer/Mt. Judea School District lawsuit claiming unequal state funding of the small rural school.

The district noted its teacher pay was for below that of many other districts and that transportation support was inadequate.


According to a news release from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, the judge found that the issues did not amount to a constitutional violation. The attorney general’s office earlier had suggested the district’s problems were partly of its own making, including with a higher superintendent pay than some comparable districts.  The office also suggested “greed” might be involved in arguments about how transportation money was distributed.
Rutledge commented:

“The State of Arkansas has a duty to educate its children,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Under past Arkansas Supreme Court decisions, the General Assembly has a responsibility to provide funding for an adequate education for all children – a responsibility that the court recognized is being met.”

The case has been underway for years. 


More coverage from AP indicates the judge had made some missteps but not enough to support a broad constitutional challenge.