Editorial - It's the court's call now
Sixteen years after a judge ruled that rural students were being short-changed by West Virginia's system of funding public schools, legislators' foot-dragging on a plan to equalize spending across the state may force a judge to appoint someone to do the job for them. If that happens, lawmakers will only have themselves to blame for getting hung up on side issues unrelated to the judge's original order.
Issued in 1982, the order ruled it was unconstitutional to fund school systems by relying mainly on each county's property taxes.
Dan Hedges, the attorney who filed the original suit, went back to court in frustration last year after the legislature had spent more than a decade dithering about the issue. The judge gave lawmakers until the end of the 1998 session - March 14 - to make some progress. A hearing will be held March 16 to see how far they've gotten.