Two parents are bringing forward a class-action lawsuit against the West Ada School District for not providing free kindergarten, writes Idaho Press reporter Patty Bowen; the attorney who filed the laws was former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Robert Huntley. The two parents, Peyton Gifford and Mollie Gabaldon, have a child enrolled in kindergarten in the district starting fall 2019. The lawsuit, filed in 4th Judicial District Court late Tuesday, seeks to represent all parents and students enrolled in kindergarten across the state.
The West Ada and Boise school districts, among others, only provide a half-day of kindergarten for free. Full-day kindergarten costs $300 per month in West Ada and $50 to $250 in Boise, a sliding-scale fee based on eligibility for free and reduced lunch, according to each district’s website.
“Failure to offer free kindergarten, not only violates the Idaho Constitution, but violates every anti-discrimination law and standard,” the complaint states. “Why? Because requiring parents to pay for the second half of the day, at a rate similar to Boise School District’s $250 per month, disadvantages low income families.”
The complaint also argues that under the Idaho Constitution the legislature is required to provide “free common school.” Despite that, the legislature continues to underfund Idaho schools, requiring them to collect fees from patrons to attend full-day kindergarten, it says.
You can read Bowen’s full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up today’s edition of the Idaho Press.
Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.