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ACCESS Conference: More States Pair Adequacy Studies with Litigation

The trend towards using adequacy studies as a tool in school-funding litigation is speeding up around the country. In the last decade, about a dozen costing-out studies were done, most of them by state legislatures or by commissions appointed by states. An ACCESS Conference session on developments in the states, however, revealed that the speed with which adequacy studies are being done is accelerating. Just in the last few months, seven states--Alaska, Colorado, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Massachusetts, and Montana--have either initiated or completed studies aimed at determining the cost of an adequate education, and almost all of these were commissioned by plaintiffs, teachers unions, and/or other advocacy groups. There are a number of interesting wrinkles as well. Massachusetts has two studies--one using the successful schools methodology and one using the professional judgment methodology--going on simultaneously, while New York is implementing a study that will combine successful schools and professional judgment, while also placing a large emphasis on public engagement activities--12 forums will be held around the state over the next two months. A state commission in California is contemplating undertaking a new costing-out study as well.

Prepared March 5, 2003