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Supreme Court says school funding lawsuit deserves trial

A lawsuit that accuses the state of failing to properly fund and operate quality schools deserves its day in court, the Florida Supreme Court ruled today.

Citizens for Strong Schools first filed the suit in 2009 in Leon County's Circuit Court, but the state and Legislature complained that the issue was not fit for a trial because it hinges on broad issues of school funding and education policy. In November, the First District Court of Appeals narrowly ruled against the state, which then appealed to the high court in February.

Today, the Supreme Court said it should "decline to exercise jurisdiction"  and dismissed the case. That means the plaintiffs, which includes non-profit groups and parents of public school students, can move forward with seeking a trial.

Defendents include outgoing Senate President Mike Haridopolos, outgoing House Speaker Dean Cannon, former Education Commissioner Eric Smith, and the state Board of Education. The Florida School Boards Association, Florida Association of District School Superintendents, Florida Education Association, and Florida Association of School Administrators, as well as the teachers union and school board in Sarasota County, joined in to support the plaintiffs.