Prior to this month, there were only three states in the country in which challenges to state education finance systems had not been filed in recent decades. Now there are only two ( Hawaii and Utah), as a group of parents and students have now filed suit, Shea v. State, against the State of Nevada, the Superintendent of Public Education and the State Board of Education in the First Judicial District Court in Carson City, Nevada.
Citing a variety of indices indicating that Nevada “is at the top of every ‘bad’ list, and the bottom of every ‘good’ list” in myriad rankings of public school systems and student performance across the country, plaintiffs allege that students are being deprived of a sufficient education as required by Article XI of the State Constitution. In addition to the general constitutional language, plaintiffs also rely on a broad range of statutory, regulatory and policy pronouncements that the state has issued regarding the substance of a sufficient and basic public education. They further allege that the State has ignored the findings of cost studies the State had authorized in 2006 and 2018 that found that base per-pupil spending should be at least $3,000 higher for the 2020-2021 year than the level of current appropriations.