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Judge tosses schools lawsuit

The Oklahoman Published: July 28, 2006
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An Oklahoma County judge dismissed this morning a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed by the state's largest teacher union against the state and legislators, according to court records and staff.

The lawsuit claimed public schools have about $3 billion of infrastructure needs the state should pay.

The lawsuit, which claimed the state’s public schools are underfunded by about $1 billion a year, was filed by the Oklahoma Education Association against the state of Oklahoma, Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan and House Speaker Todd Hiett.

Joining the OEA as plaintiffs were the Western Heights, Jenks and Foyil school districts.

Oklahoma County District Court Judge Daniel Owens dismissed the lawsuit "with prejudice," meaning it cannot be refiled.

Lela Odom, OEA executive director, said the group would appeal the decision.

Last week during a hearing before Owens, an attorney for the state argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the court does not have power to determine state spending.

Morgan, D-Stillwater, said Owens' ruling upholds that appropriating funds for education is the exclusive prerogative of the Legislature.

"We're pleased that (Owens) has outright dismissed the lawsuit," Morgan said.

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