Court Denies State’s Motion to Dismiss the Wyoming Education Association’s School Finance Lawsuit
WEA President Grady Hutcherson announcing the WEA’s school finance lawsuit in front of the Capitol building in Cheyenne (Above). Courtesy WEA.
The 1st Judicial District Court of Laramie County has denied the State’s motion to dismiss the Wyoming Education Association’s (WEA’s) school finance lawsuit.
The Court has found that WEA’s complaint satisfies all prongs of the Brimmer test and, consequently, WEA has sufficient legal standing to bring the suit. The Court agreed that WEA’s members, as educators and parents of Wyoming students, have a “tangible interest in the outcome of the dispute.”
Further stating in its ruling that, “As educators and parents of students, WEA and its members would directly benefit from application of the ECA, a competitive salary study, additional or different components being included in public education, safe, efficient, and suitable school facilities, and any funding provided resulting from those actions."
Of the Court’s ruling to dismiss the State’s motion, WEA’s Chief Legal Counsel Patrick Hacker, J.D., said, “We appreciate the Court’s thoughtful deliberation on the State’s motion to dismiss. We are pleased that the Court agrees that WEA has proper standing to sue the State for failing to fund its public schools adequately.” Hacker continued, “Both as a prior plaintiff in landmark cases on education funding and as an organization comprised of educators dedicated to advocating for students and public education for more than 100 years, WEA takes its obligation to protect students and schools very seriously. We look forward to explaining the merits of our case in court.”
WEA President Grady Hutcherson says education in Wyoming is beginning to suffer, and students simply cannot be left waiting for adequate resources. “We are so grateful to the Court for affirming WEA’s ability to stand up on behalf of students, families, and public schools,” he said.
“No one wanted this to come to litigation,” said Hutcherson, “but what spurred WEA to file this lawsuit in the first place is the fact that 95,000 Wyoming students are being shortchanged, as public schools are continuously being asked to do more with less. WEA is proud to protect our shared societal interest in providing adequate resources for our students. Now, we ask the Court to hold the Legislature accountable to adequately funding public education.”
WEA’s claim for punitive damages to discourage the legislature from underfunding education in the future, as well as attorney’s fees, has been dismissed. WEA’s standing to bring this lawsuit is affirmed, and the State’s motion to dismiss on those grounds has been denied.
View a copy of the Court’s December 6 ruling on the State’s motion to dismiss here.
View a copy of WEA’s August 18 legal filing here.