12/03 - Court refuses to mandate aid for poor districts - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

12/03 - Court refuses to mandate aid for poor districts

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Posted: Wednesday, December 3, 2003 8:38 am | Updated: 2:09 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

State lawmakers do not have to provide additional state aid to schools that have a high percentage of poor students, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled.

Judge Peter Reinstein rejected the arguments filed by attorney Tim Hogan on behalf of poor districts that the Legislature is ignoring the constitutional requirement that the state provide an adequate and uniform education to all.

Hogan said there is evidence that students whose parents are poor do far worse on the Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards than their more affluent counterparts.

He said that means either the state needs to provide more cash for all schools or, at the very least, additional aid for poor students who need more help.

"It is hard to disagree that the resources available to students in some districts may be woefully inadequate," the judge wrote.

But he said that is an issue the complaining school districts should take up with the Legislature and not with the courts.

Hogan said he will ask the Arizona Supreme Court to intercede.

The lawsuit is based on AIMS scores.

The test, which is administered to students in the third, fifth and eighth grades — and eventually will be used as a graduation requirement — is designed to see if students have acquired what are said to be the necessary skills at their grade levels.

"Students from low socioeconomic background are at substantial risk of failing in public school if they are not provided with the additional programs and services that are necessary in order for them to overcome the disadvantages that their socioeconomic status creates for them," Hogan said.

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