California currently has two complementary school finance lawsuits pending before the courts. In recent years, many similar lawsuits have been filed in other states. What many call adequacy lawsuits have been used in recent years to compel states to first determine how much it costs to educate students to meet certain standards, and then to fund schools at or close to that level. (Some say the two California lawsuits differ from traditional adequacy lawsuits because they focus on fixing the state's finance system and specific policies they say funds should be used to support.) These types of suits typically take years to work their way through the courts, particularly when states focus on contesting plaintiffs' claims rather than settlement negotiations.
Robles-Wong v. California
In May 2010, the California School Boards Association, Association of California School Administrators, and California State PTA filed a lawsuit against the state of California "requesting that the current education finance system be declared unconstitutional and that the state be required to establish a school finance system that provides all students an equal opportunity to meet the academic goals set by the state." As of when the case was filed, nine school districts and more than 60 students were also plaintiffs.
CQE et al. v. California
In July 2010, the Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Californians for Justice (CFJ), the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE), and the San Francisco Organizing Project filed a companion school finance lawsuit against the state of California. The plaintiffs say the state constitution "establishes a right to a meaningful education that will prepare students to succeed economically and participate in our democracy" and argue that the state is violating this right. They also say "foundational policies that must be in place include an adequate data system, policies to support teacher development, evaluation and effectiveness, and access to preschool for all low-income children." As of when the case was filed, more than 20 students and parents were also plaintiffs. The legal team includes the public interest law firm Public Advocates, which was involved in the Williams v. California case.