The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue the state over a variable cap on school spending that was enacted in the last legislative session. The nonprofit group is actively seeking plaintiffs for a lawsuit against the state.Allen Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont ACLU, told a state education panel on Friday that he believes the limit on education spending is unconstitutional.Gilbert says Act 46, the new school district merger law, which features an adjustable limit on how much a school can spend over the next two years, “violates the equity provision” of the Brigham decision and the Vermont Constitution.
“We will be following how Act 46 is implemented, and what happens with school budgets,” Gilbert told the members of the Vermont State Board of Education on Friday. “We put out the word that we will entertain the requests of any school districts who want to be represented.”
Gilbert said if a school district came to the ACLU next March (when towns vote on school spending) with a budget that exceeds the cap, the nonprofit would take the case. “We think in order to serve kids fairly we would look at taking them on as a client,” he said.
Gilbert said the ACLU does not want to take the state to court and is “hoping to see a legislative fix sometime early in the next session.”
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