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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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State Elects Not to Collect Court Costs Against Parents in School Funding Litigation


PIERRE, S.D. –  South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announces that the State will not seek to collect the court costs against the Plaintiff parents in the school funding litigation. On September 1, 2011, the South Dakota Supreme Court unanimously held that the Plaintiffs in Davis v. State failed to prove that the South Dakota School funding system is unconstitutional. Under South Dakota law, a prevailing party is legally entitled to receive costs necessarily incurred in gathering and procuring evidence for both trial and appeal, excluding expert and attorney fees. On August 18, 2009, after the State had prevailed at trial and at the request of the State, the trial court ordered that $59,301.66 in costs be taxed against the Plaintiffs. The appellate costs further included the amount of $146.96. While the Plaintiffs’ case had been largely funded by a collection of school districts, the Plaintiffs in the school funding case are individual parents of K-12 school children. 
Although the state, as the prevailing party, is entitled to collect the costs already ordered by the court and appellate costs, in the total amount of $59,448.62 plus interest, it is electing not to take further action based in part upon the following:
1)         Any such costs would either come from individual parents of K-12 school children or more likely from taxpayers through the school districts;
2)         Plaintiffs have agreed to no further litigation with respect to the school funding lawsuit; and
3)         Plaintiffs and the Coalition of Schools have agreed to not file or financially support any similar legal challenge to school funding for a period of 10 years.
“Now is the time for the state to focus on continuing to provide the necessary financial resources and cost-effective solutions for our children’s education rather than continuing litigation,” said Marty Jackley.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :    Monday, September 12, 2011
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215