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A Georgia judge has denied the state's motion to dismiss a lawsuit charging the state with spending too little on education.
The state argued the 50 school districts that filed the lawsuit couldn't prove that spending more on education would increase student achievement.
Judge Elizabeth Long didn't rule on whether more money would increase test scores and graduation rates, but instead said that question should be answered at trial.
"This court is mindful of the expense involved in a trial of this magnitude, as well as the uncomfortable position of the judge in such a bench trial," Long ruled. "But it is not the role of the court to tailor its ruling to avoid awkward situations or to let expediency and cost savings dictate legal outcomes, especially on issues of such importance."
Long previously rebuffed another motion in which lawyers for state officials argued the Georgia General Assembly, not the courts, should make decisions about education funding. The Georgia Supreme Court later upheld her decision.
Pointing to sagging test scores, the 50 school districts who formed the Consortium for Adequate School Funding in Georgia argued the state has not met its obligation to provide what the Georgia constitution terms an "adequate education."
The state rejects that argument and says if the school districts win, Georgians may see a massive tax increase.
A spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue said the governor still is confident the state will prevail at trial.
The trial, scheduled to begin Oct. 21, is expected to last several weeks, though Long's final decision likely will be appealed.
- Athens Banner-Herald