Helena Judge Will Hear School Funding Arguments

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – A Helena judge says he will hold a new hearing on the six-year-old school funding lawsuit.

District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock says it is not clear if the state has addressed the structural deficiencies in the funding formula that led courts in three years ago to declare the system unconstitutional.

The state had argued that much has been done since that order and asked the judge to declare the lawsuit moot, and force the school groups to start a whole new lawsuit.

But Sherlock disagreed, saying he doesn’t know if the Legislature has lived up to the obligation imposed by the Montana Supreme Court.

The judge says it will be up to the Montana Quality Education Coalition to prove that the state has failed to live up to earlier court orders.