ACLU Revives State Education Lawsuit

The ACLU of Maryland leads a coalition to sue the State of Maryland over inadequate school funding in Baltimore.

A years-old court case challenging the adequacy of state education funding has been revived. The Bradford vs. Maryland State Board of Education litigation played a significant role leading up to the state’s passage of the Thornton Commission legislation in 2000, the last major overhaul of state school funding formulas.

From an ACLU press release:

The request filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City would reopen the historic Bradford lawsuit that ordered a revamping of the state’s education funding formula. It would also hold the State accountable for its failure to provide the necessary funding to both provide a quality education and to address the abysmal physical conditions of school facilities that disrupt students’ ability to learn.
According to the state Department of Legislative Services, the gap between what was judged by the State to be required for the Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS) to provide a quality education and what was actually funded – was $290 million in FY 2015. An independent analysis mandated by the General Assembly for that year found BCPSS deserved $358 million. Over time, Baltimore City students have been deprived of over $2 billion in constitutionally required funding.

A history and timeline of the Bradford case is also available on the ACLU of Maryland website.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties