This is a sponsored conversation in collaboration with California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse*. All opinions are mine.
The school year is about to begin, and California ’s students are about to head back into the classroom. While school districts are always stretched tight, one thing that’s really hurting schools is abusive litigation, which is forcing districts to spend money fighting lawsuits instead of educating students.
That’s the finding of a recent report from California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. The report analyzed the litigation costs to 12 districts for fiscal years 2010-2011 through 2012-2013, and found that the districts combined spent more than $125.6 million on litigation, spending $96.1 million on outside counsel, and $29.4 million on verdicts and settlements. Go ahead & read the report.
The districts involved in the report are Central Unified School District (Fresno), Elk Grove Unified School District, Kern High School District, Long Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, San Bernardino City Unified School District, San Diego Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, San Jose Unified School District, Santa Ana Unified School District, and Stockton Unified School District.
The 12 districts examined in this report account for less than 20% of the total enrollment of California ’s K-12 public school districts. When the other districts are taken into account, who knows how many millions – or billions – of dollars our districts are spending?
This report makes it clear that California ’s schools are just one more victim of the state’s plaintiffs’ attorneys, some of whom view lawsuits as a means to get rich rather than achieve justice. Because California ’s laws encourage this behavior, our students are paying the price. I don’t know about your child’s school district, but ours is hurting-we need every penny to be spent in the classrooms, not in the courtrooms!
The $125 million spent in just three years could have been put to better use across the state. That money could have paid the salaries of more teachers, purchased new textbooks, maintained busing programs, or paid for counselors. Instead, we’re dealing with cuts to many of our programs, like music and sports-it’s just not right.
Californians, we need to make sure, especially as the November ballot approaches, that we know whether our candidates support legal reforms that would put an end to abuse like this. Legislators need to help solve the problem by passing legislation that stops abusive lawsuits, instead of encouraging them.
Our kid’s are counting on us to do the right thing, don’t let them down!
*California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about the negative effects of lawsuit abuse and challenging those who abuse our legal system for personal gain.