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Prichard Committee Supports Kentucky's Adequacy Lawsuit

The struggle for education adequacy in Kentucky's public school system will reach a critical level during the next year, according to the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. On November 25, 2003, the Prichard Committee announced that it has voted to support the lawsuit filed by the Council for Better Education "to ensure adequate funding for the education of every child in Kentucky's public schools."

The Council, the organization that originally brought the landmark Rose v. Council for Better Education case in 1985, filed a complaint this September against the state's legislative leaders. Council v. Williams claims that the state has failed to implement an adequate funding system and asks the court to "enter judgment declaring and determining the amount of additional funding" needed to comply with the Rose decision. Although Kentucky's students have made considerable progress since the 1989 Rose decision, in recent years, due in part to revenue shortfalls, the adequacy of Kentucky's education funding is once again being questioned. Two recent costing-out studies have suggested that an additional $750 million to $892 million is needed to allow students to meet the state's learning standards.

As reported in a recent article in the Kentucky Post, Lisa Gross, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, considers the Prichard Committee to be "the single most important grassroots effort that we've seen in education at least in the 20th and 21st centuries." The Prichard Committee played a central role in the effort surrounding the Council's original Rose lawsuit. The Committee organized a grassroots campaign and rallied the public around the crucial need for increased funding for the state's schools.

The Committee will once again employ some of these same efforts to assist the second lawsuit, including conducting public engagement forums and identifying primary areas where additional funding is needed. The Committee may also aide the litigation process through the presentation of evidence or the completion of an amicus brief. In addition, the Prichard Committee will collaborate with its fellow members of the Partners for Kentucky's Future, a statewide coalition of more than 50 organizations advocating for additional educational funding. As reported in the Kentucky Post, the Partners will organize a statewide campaign and forums as a means to educate the public about the need for adequate funding for Kentucky's public schools.

Prepared December 11, 2003