Could video-poker cash fund school settlement?
West Virginia's legislative leaders are paying close attention to an attempt to settle a 26-year-old lawsuit challenging the way the state funds schools. The suit challenges schools' reliance on property taxes, but top lawmakers say there's no way they'll agree to kick in more state funds. We suggest they consider earmarking money from video poker for that purpose.
The suit was filed in 1975, on behalf of a Lincoln County mother, who claimed the state was not providing her child with an adequate education. Originally dismissed, it was reinstated by the state Supreme Court in 1979. Three years later, Ohio County Circuit Court Judge Arthur Recht ruled that the state's system of funding schools was unconstitutional.
In 1983, the judge approved a master plan for the schools that was meant to lead to action by the legislature. But although the plan was reviewed twice by the state Supreme Court, which recommended implementation, that never happened. In 1995, the suit was reopened, on the grounds that the state wasn't making any progress on the master plan.