by David Safier
In a long-awaited ruling — and one long-feared by Republicans — Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper ruled that the legislature has to add $317 million to K-12 funding in Arizona right now and something on the order of $2.9 billion over the next five years.
This goes back to a 2000 ballot measure where the voters said school funding has to increase to keep up with inflation, which the lege hasn't done on a regular basis.
Where is the legislature supposed to get the money? The judge said that's not relevant to her ruling.
“Cost does not defeat jurisdiction,” she wrote.
“This court cannot (and will not) tell the Legislature or treasurer how to fund the adjustments, past or future,” she wrote. “The court assumes that the Legislature will do what the law requires to enable the state to comply with the Supreme Court decision.”
Stay tuned. This story has legs. It's going to be around for awhile and will most likely become a factor in some 2014 campaigns.