Idaho Suit Takes on School Fees

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A former Idaho school district superintendent with twin granddaughters in kindergarten is suing the state, charging that cash-strapped schools are violating the Idaho Constitution by charging fees for what are supposed to be “free, common schools.”

Russ Joki’s granddaughters were each charged $45 to register for kindergarten this year, and his grandson, a high school junior, had to pay $85 in fees to enroll at Meridian High. He said a 1970 Idaho Supreme Court decision specifically found educational fees for public schools unconstitutional. “I don’t think it passes the constitutional test at all,” Joki said, “and I think someone has to raise that question.”

His lawsuit was filed Monday afternoon in 4th District Court in Ada County; it seeks class-action status on behalf of all schoolchildren and parents in the state of Idaho. In addition to Joki, plaintiffs include his grandson, for whom he is legal guardian; his daughter and her twin 5-year-olds; and 15 other individuals from around the state, all grandparents of Idaho public school students.

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