The Lewiston Tribune suggested school districts with failed tax levies should seek relief from the Idaho Supreme Court because the Idaho Constitution requires the Idaho Legislature, not Idaho property owners, to “establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” Sadly, the Idaho Supreme Court has already been asked to order the Legislature to honor its constitutional duty and it refused the request without any explanation.
Compare that stance with Washington and Wyoming, states that have a similar constitutional mandate. The Wyoming Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to fund education, appointed a special master to assess the cost, ordered that amount to be raised and the Legislature appropriated the funds. The Washington Supreme Court entered a similar order to the Washington Legislature, and it has been in special session in an effort to comply with the order.
Sending struggling school systems to the Idaho Supreme Court for relief will be a fool’s errand until the court musters the courage to enforce the constitution it is sworn to uphold. In the meantime, Idaho’s school children will suffer and property owners will continue to pay a constitutionally questionable tax.
John Bradbury, Lewiston