Campaign for Quality Educ. v. State, A134423

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtJenkins, J.
Citation209 Cal.Rptr.3d 888
Parties CAMPAIGN FOR QUALITY EDUCATION et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. STATE of California et al., Defendants and Respondents. Maya Robles–Wong et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. State of California et al. Defendants and Respondents; California Teachers Association, Intervener and Appellant.
Decision Date20 April 2016
Docket NumberA134423,A134424

209 Cal.Rptr.3d 888

CAMPAIGN FOR QUALITY EDUCATION et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
STATE of California et al., Defendants and Respondents.


Maya Robles–Wong et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
State of California et al.
Defendants and Respondents;

California Teachers Association, Intervener and Appellant.

A134423
A134424

Court of Appeal, First District, Division 3, California.

Filed April 20, 2016
Opinion Reposted to include Supreme Court statements upon denial of review August 22, 2016


Counsel for Appellants: Campaign for Quality Education et al.: John Thomas Affeldt, Tara Kini, Sophia Lai; Public Advocates, Inc., Martin R. Glick, Deborah S. Schlosberg, Sara J. Eisenberg, Gabriel N. White, Steven L. Mayer, Arnold & Porter LLP, Rohit Kumar Singla, Leo Goldbard, Munger Tolles & Olson (Counsel for CQE Plaintiffs/Appellants).

Counsel for Appellants: Robles–Wong et al.: Frank B. Kennamer, Sandra Z. Nierenberg, Gretchen E. Groggel, Elisa Cervantes ; Bingham McCutchen LLP, William S. Koski, Carly J. Munson; Youth and Educational Law Project, Mills Legal Clinic, Stanford Law School, William F. Abrams, King & Spalding (Counsel for Robles–Wong, Individual Plaintiffs/Appellants).

Deborah B. Caplan, Joshua R. Daniels, Matthew R. Cody, Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, LLP (Counsel for Robles–Wong, CSBA, ACSA, STATE PTA, and School Districts).

Abe Hajela (Counsel for Robles–Wong, CSBA, ACSA and California State PTA).

Laura P. Juran, Jean Shin, California Teachers Association (Counsel for Appellant-Intervener CTA and Robles–Wong).

Counsel for Respondent: State of California: Edmund G. Brown Jr., as Governor, Ana Matosantos, as Director of Finance, John Chiang, as State Controller, Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of California, Julie Weng-Guiterrez, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Nimrod Elias, Ernest Martinez, Lisa Tillman, Jonathan E. Rich, Joshua Nathan Sondheimer, Pauline Gee, Ismael A. Castro, Supervising Deputy Attorney General.

Counsel for Amicus curiae for Appellants: Education Law Center and Campaign for Educational Equity, Teacher's College, Columbia University: Stephen R. Buckingham, Alison Price Corbin, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, Rochelle Lyn Wilcox, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

Counsel for Amicus curiae for Appellants: California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.: Cynthia Louise Rice, Franchesca Gonzalez, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (Counsel for Amici Curiae, Maria Medina ).

Santiago AvilA–Gomez, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (Counsel for Amici Curiae, Californians Together).

Counsel for Amicus curiae for Appellants: Delaine Eastin and Jack O'Connell in support of Plaintiff/Appellants: Steven D. Allison, David D. Johnson, Tracy E. Reichmuth, Joel D. Smith, Crowell & Moring (Counsel for Amicus curiae Delaine Eastin and Jack O'Connell).

Counsel for Amicus curiae for Appellants: Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California Cameron G. Stout, Douglas Karpa, Daniel R. Golub, Holland & Knight LLP (Counsel for Amicus Curiae Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California).

Counsel for Amicus curiae for Appellants: Children Now, Education Trust–West & California Association of School Business Officials: Nicole S. Cuningham, Nicole S. Naghi, Goodwin Procer LLP (Counsel for Children Now, Education Trust–West & California Association for School Business Officials).

Jenkins, J.

In these consolidated appeals, appellants ask us to reinstate their claims in which they seek declaratory and injunctive relief on the ground that respondents are allegedly violating sections 1 and

209 Cal.Rptr.3d 892

5 of article IX of the California Constitution.1 Appellants' claims are general in nature. They allege the constitutional sections provide for a judicially-enforceable right to an education of “some quality” for all public school children, and, alternatively, that the Legislature is currently violating its constitutional obligations to “provide for” and “keep up and support” the “system of common schools” by its current educational financing system. However, we find no support for finding implied constitutional rights to an education of “some quality” for public school children or a minimum level of expenditures for education, as appellants urge us to read into sections 1 and 5 of article IX. To the contrary, the language of these constitutional sections do not include qualitative or funding elements that may be judicially enforced by the courts. Rather, the constitutional sections leave the difficult and policy-laden questions associated with educational adequacy and funding to the legislative branch. Consequently, we must affirm the trial court's dismissal of the complaints as appellants have failed to state a claim for which judicial relief may be accorded them.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The two lawsuits before us were deemed related but not consolidated in the trial court. In Campaign for Quality Education v. State of California (CQE ), plaintiffs are several nonprofit associations and guardians ad litem for minor students attending public schools in California, as well as one adult taxpayer and homeowner and two adult taxpayers and homeowners who are parents of students attending public schools in California. Similarly, in Maya Robles–Wong v. State of California (Robles–Wong ), plaintiffs are several nonprofit associations and guardians ad litem for several students attending public schools in California, as well as several California school districts. Intervener California Teachers Association filed a complaint-in-intervention in the Robles–Wong action. Defendants in each action are the State of California and various named persons sued in their official capacities as state officers.

In their operative complaints, all named plaintiffs and intervener (collectively appellants) seek declaratory and injunctive relief based, in pertinent part, on allegations that all named defendants (collectively respondents) are violating sections 1 and 5 of article IX. The overarching nature of the causes of actions sought to be reinstated are based on allegations that all public school children have a constitutional right to an education of “some quality,” and, alternatively, that the Legislature is currently failing to meet its constitutional duty by employing an irrational educational funding scheme. According to appellants, the Legislature's current method of funding education fails to ensure that all public school children have the opportunity to become educationally proficient according to current legislatively-mandated academic standards.

Resolving respondents' separate demurrer and motion for judgment on the pleadings, the trial court sustained the demurrer and granted the motion for judgment on the pleadings, without leave to amend, as to those portions of the causes of action alleging that respondents are violating sections 1 and 5 of article IX. The court granted appellants the right to amend their complaints relative to other causes of action, but appellants declined to do so. Accordingly, the court entered judgments

209 Cal.Rptr.3d 893

dismissing the lawsuits in their entirety. Appellants' timely appeals ensued.2

DISCUSSION

I. Introduction

In ruling on a demurrer or motion for judgment on the pleadings, the trial court examines the pleading to determine whether it alleges facts sufficient to state a cause of action under any legal theory, with the facts being assumed true for purposes of this inquiry. (Committee for Green Foothills v. Santa Clara County Bd. of Supervisors (2010) 48 Cal.4th 32, 42, 105 Cal.Rptr.3d 181, 224 P.3d 920 (Committee for Green Foothills ); Pang v. Beverly Hosp., Inc . (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 986, 989, 94 Cal.Rptr.2d 643.) Our review is de novo. (Committee for Green Foothills, supra, 48 Cal.4th at p. 42, 105 Cal.Rptr.3d 181, 224 P.3d 920 ; Schabarum v. California Legislature (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 1205, 1216, 70 Cal.Rptr.2d 745 (Schabarum ).) “[W]e treat the properly pleaded allegations of [the] complaint as true, and also consider those matters subject to judicial notice. [Citations.]” (Alliance Mortgage Co. v. Rothwell (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1226, 1232, 44 Cal.Rptr.2d 352, 900 P.2d 601.) “[T]he allegations of the complaint must be liberally construed with a view to attaining substantial justice among the parties. [Citation.] If there is any reasonable possibility that plaintiff can state a good cause of action, it is error and an abuse of discretion to sustain the demurrer without leave to amend. [Citations.] However, leave to amend is properly denied if the facts and nature of plaintiffs' claims are clear and under the substantive law, no liability exists. [Citations.]” (Beck v. County of San Mateo (1984) 154 Cal.App.3d 374, 379, 201 Cal.Rptr. 365.)

As noted, appellants limit their appeals to seeking reinstatement of those portions of the causes of actions that seek to impose liability on respondents for their alleged violations of sections 1 and 5 of article IX.3 Appellants urge us to hold that their claims are justiciable in that if we were to remand the cases for trial, they would be able to demonstrate that the Legislature's current education finance system is in violation of the fundamental right to an education guaranteed by article IX, and, the legislative and executive branches of the state should be compelled to take...

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5 cases
  • Collins v. Thurmond, F075781
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 27, 2019
    ...to implement these principles and truths." ( Campaign for Quality Education v. State of California (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 896, 910, 209 Cal.Rptr.3d 888.) As such, these provisions have not been considered to enshrine the right "to an education of some quality" or, indeed, any particular qua......
  • Collins v. Thurmond, F075781
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 5, 2019
    ...to implement these principles and truths." ( Campaign for Quality Education v. State of California (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 896, 910, 209 Cal.Rptr.3d 888.) As such, these provisions have not been considered to enshrine the right "to an education of some quality" or, indeed, any particular qua......
  • Collins v. Thurmond, F075781
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 27, 2019
    ...made to implement these principles and truths." (Campaign for Quality Education v. State of California (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 896, 910 [209 Cal.Rptr.3d 888].) As such, these provisions have not been considered to enshrine the right "to an education of some quality" or, indeed, any particula......
  • City of Torrance v. S. Cal. Edison Co., B300296
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 17, 2021
    ...the demurrer without leave to amend.’ " ( Campaign for Quality Education v. State of California (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 896, 904, 209 Cal.Rptr.3d 888.) A court's denial of leave to amend is reviewable on appeal, " ‘even in the absence of a request for leave to amend’ [citations], and even if......
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