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Judge dismisses fair funding lawsuit

July 13, 2012

WOONSOCKET – The city won't be getting any additional school funding from the state in the near future, at least not through legal action.
That was the outcome of a successful move by the state to block the city from winning a hearing on its school funding lawsuit in Superior Court.
Judge Nettie C. Vogel on Thursday issued a 31-page decision ruling in favor of the state's motion to dismiss the case filed by both the Woonsocket and Pawtucket school districts while noting earlier court decisions to the same effect.
Vogel supported the need for all portions of the state's population to be properly educated, a focus of the suit's contention that distressed urban districts like Woonsocket receive insufficient state funding for their student needs, but pointed to a state Supreme Court decision on that matter. The decision argued that the state Constitution “clearly charged the General Assembly” with the “duty to promote public schools and to adopt all means which it may deem necessary and proper to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education,” Vogel wrote in the decision.
That ruling, according to Vogel, leaves it to the General Assembly to determine whether its support of local school districts is sufficient, not the courts.

Read more in our print edition.

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