By Associated Press - Saturday, April 25, 2015

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A deputy attorney general in Tennessee is urging the dismissal of a lawsuit aimed at the state’s public school funding formula.

The suit filed by seven county school districts claims the state doesn’t provide enough funding for numerous expenses.

The state’s response was in a 32-page memorandum filed in Davidson County Chancery Court in Nashville, the Chattanooga Times Free Press ( reported. The state had until Friday to respond to the school systems’ suit.

Deputy Attorney General Kevin Steiling said the lawsuit relies on a “profoundly flawed interpretation” of three successful previous lawsuits against Tennessee’s Basic Education Program and should be “dismissed in its entirety.”

Scott Bennett, the attorney for the county school districts that filed the suit, declined to comment.

The suit was filed by the Bradley, Coffee, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn and Polk county school districts.

The lawsuit claims the state doesn’t provide enough funding for expenses that include teacher pay and health insurance. The state underestimates by about $10,000 what teachers are actually paid, the lawsuit says, and the state pays only for 10 months of teachers’ 12 months of insurance.

The state’s attorney wrote that the local school districts were wrong in taking their complaints about lack of funding to the court system.

“The … school boards do a difficult job in overseeing and conducting the day-to-day education of schoolchildren in their districts,” Steiling wrote. “But these pleas for more funding are not properly directed to the courts of Tennessee - they must be directed to the General Assembly.”


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press,

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