Lawyers Seek Class Action in Education Funding

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Lawyers representing Coffee County in a challenge to the state’s education funding method are asking for class action status. If approved, all school systems in Tennessee would join the lawsuit against Tennessee’s basic education program funding formula. Hamilton County Schools leading the effort to toss out the BEP plan. Grundy, Marion, Polk, McMinn and Bradley County schools also joined the lawsuit filed in March in Davidson County chancery court. Now attorney’s for those systems are asking to include all districts in the state in the court battle. Coffee County says the state under-funds expenses like teacher pay and health insurance. The lawsuit claims the state is violating a constitutional mandate to provide free public education. Plaintiffs believe the state is shorting local districts by some $500 million. Lawyers for the state have asked to dismiss the action.

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