State v. Campbell County School Dist., No. 00-120.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtLEHMAN, Chief Justice.
Citation32 P.3d 325,2001 WY 90
PartiesSTATE of Wyoming, et al., Appellants (Defendants), v. CAMPBELL COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Appellees (Plaintiffs), Laramie County School District No. One, et al., Appellees (Intervening Plaintiffs), and Wyoming Education Association, Appellee (Intervening Plaintiff).
Decision Date02 October 2001
Docket NumberNo. 00-120.

32 P.3d 325
2001 WY 90

STATE of Wyoming, et al., Appellants (Defendants),
v.
CAMPBELL COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Appellees (Plaintiffs),
Laramie County School District No. One, et al., Appellees (Intervening Plaintiffs), and
Wyoming Education Association, Appellee (Intervening Plaintiff)

No. 00-120.

Supreme Court of Wyoming.

October 2, 2001.


Representing Appellants: Rowena Heckert, Deputy Attorney General; Raymond B. Hunkins, Special Assistant Attorney General, of Jones, Jones, Vines & Hunkins, Wheatland, WY; and Jack B. Speight and Dominique D.Y. Cone of Hathaway, Speight & Kunz, LLC, Cheyenne, WY. Argument by Mr. Hunkins.

Representing Appellee Laramie County School District No. One: Paul J. Hickey and Richard D. Bush of Hickey, Mackey, Evans & Walker, Cheyenne, WY. Argument by Mr. Hickey.

Representing Appellee Natrona County School District No. One: Stuart R. Day and Kevin D. Huber of Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, P.C., Casper, WY. Argument by Mr. Day.

Representing Appellee Wyoming Education Association: Patrick E. Hacker of Patrick E. Hacker, P.C., Cheyenne, WY. Argument by Mr. Hacker.

Before LEHMAN, C.J., and GOLDEN, KITE, and VOIGT, JJ., and SPANGLER, D.J., Ret.

32 P.3d 326
On Rehearing

LEHMAN, Chief Justice.

[¶ 1] In 1995, this court heard school districts' claims challenging the constitutionality of school financing statutes. This court determined the Wyoming Constitution required that all students receive an equal opportunity to a quality education. Finding a lack of equal opportunity, we remanded the case. Campbell County Sch. Dist. v. State, 907 P.2d 1238 (Wyo.1995) (Campbell I). After the legislature acted, the challenger school districts and the Wyoming Education Association (WEA) continued the action, culminating in a second opinion by this court in which we again decided issues involving the constitutionality of operations and capital construction financing. State v. Campbell County Sch. Dist., 2001 WY 19, 19 P.3d 518 (Wyo.

32 P.3d 327
2001) (Campbell II). From this second opinion, the State petitioned for rehearing. The petition indicated an interpretation of our decision not intended by this court regarding the issue of capital construction. We heard oral argument by the State, Laramie County School District Number One, Natrona County School District Number One, and WEA

[¶ 2] At oral argument upon the Petition for Rehearing, all parties agreed that the present method for financing capital construction is not constitutional, and further agreed that capital construction financing cannot be based upon local wealth, but must be based upon the wealth of the state as a whole. Although our opinion on the adequacy of capital construction funding did not draw the same agreement by the parties, no one disputes that inadequate funding causes serious damage to school districts' ability to deliver a constitutional education to the children of this state. Until a comprehensive plan exists to adequately fund capital construction from the wealth of the state as a whole, the students of all school districts remain subject to injuries and damages.

[¶ 3] The following issues were raised in the Petition for Rehearing to which the court now responds.

Taking Judicial Notice of Incomplete Documents

[¶ 4] The legislature ordered the state superintendent to establish the needs of "school buildings and facilities" on or before September 1 of each year. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-15-107(e) (Lexis 1999). On or before October 1 of each year, the state superintendent reports those needs to the Joint Education Interim Committee, and, "[n]ot later than December 31 of each year," the state superintendent is to report on the "progress being made" on capital construction projects. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-15-107(e), (g), (j) (Lexis 1999). In Campbell II, the court took judicial notice of a document entitled "November 2000-Schools in Immediate Need of Capital Construction" and, in doing so, omitted a final column. Although the State disputes both the propriety of our use of the state superintendent's November 2000 report and the accuracy of our interpretation, we assure the State that we did consider the last column of that report as noted in footnote 57 of our opinion.

[¶ 5] As statutorily required, the MGT study was the method employed to assess "school buildings and facilities" in accordance with Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-15-111 (Lexis 1999), a statute entitled "State capital construction assistance." Our opinion requires completion of the capital construction projects identified in the MGT study and recognizes the total amount will fluctuate for various reasons. The State contends substantial funds have been provided for which it was not given credit by this court's opinion, including major maintenance funding. Those appropriations were not proposed until after our opinion was issued. Obviously, any funds appropriated for capital construction projects will reduce the ultimate state-funding obligations. Therefore, the State need not believe that it has been mandated to spend a fixed amount without regard to ongoing progress. In addition, some of the funds the State points to are currently encumbered until such time as the legislature conducts its own separate review of the proposed projects. Accordingly, this court will not consider the funds until they are available to be spent.

Consequences of Inadequacy

[¶ 6] Before we again focus on methodology details, it cannot be forgotten why, since 1981, we have found that capital construction financing critically impacts the quality of education. Without adequate funding for costly repairs, renovations, and building construction, school districts faced with non-routine major expenditure items must choose from the lesser of two evils: either ignoring the problem or, if that is no longer an option, diverting operational funding intended for teachers' and staff salaries and essential school programs. If the schools' operational funding budgets have no surplus money to divert, a deficiency results and educational staff and programs are eliminated to reduce expenditures. At the same time, it is rare that these extraordinary efforts are sufficient to properly maintain buildings.

32 P.3d 328
[¶ 7] Our 1995 opinion found the challenger school districts had proved that the cumulative effect from years of diverting and cutting operational funding had forced untenable staff and program cuts while failing to prevent the deterioration and overcrowding of school buildings. Consequently, school districts were unable to provide to all students in this state a sufficient number of teachers and buildings to maintain small class size, sufficient programs necessary to deliver a proper education, and assurance that all buildings met basic safety standards. Since 1995, the legislature has comprehensively addressed school districts' operational funding issues, but not capital construction deficiencies. Unless the two parts of the whole are simultaneously remedied, the unconstitutionality of the system is not eliminated

Relying Upon Scores of 90

[¶ 8] The constitutional goal is to ensure adequate capital construction funding from state wealth. In 1999, the legislature enacted statutes creating a school capital construction system in response to our decision in Campbell I. 1999 Wyo. Sess. Laws ch. 170, §§ 101, 102. Entitled "Capital Construction Projects," the statutes were separate from those statutes governing school operations finance. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-15-106 through 112 (Lexis 1999). This set of capital construction statutes constituted the legislative plan to identify and separately fund capital construction needs.

[¶ 9] State officials identified "inadequate and immediate need" buildings and facilities by means of a scoring system. However, within the State's scoring system capital construction projects were not limited to those falling into the "inadequate and immediate need" category. The legislative plan limited eligibility for state funding to those school buildings and facilities that had been identified as "inadequate" and "in need of immediate capital construction." Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-15-107(e) (Lexis 1999). We have agreed that the State's scoring methodology was constitutional and accordingly ruled that a legislative plan that limited assistance to the worst buildings unconstitutionally failed to provide for completing all capital construction projects identified by the scoring system.

[¶ 10] There is no serious dispute from any party that inadequate funding impedes school districts' ability to deliver a constitutional education to our children. Subsequent to our 1995 opinion, the legislature acknowledged this premise by enacting legislation ordering evaluation of all school buildings through the use of "qualified contractor assistance." Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-15-107(b) (Lexis 1999). From this directive, the legislature's capital construction project identification method was formulated under the MGT study. The MGT study developed a scoring system and then assigned score ranges to categories.

[¶ 11] In this matter on reconsideration, the State now alleges the court overstepped its authority by relying upon the MGT study, suggesting the study does not represent proposed legislative action, but merely guidelines for the legislature to consider. However, the MGT study was the only piece of evidence regarding capital construction needs submitted by the State during the trial. Furthermore, there was no argument presented to this court prior to the most recent funding opinion that indicated the study would not be used for legislative decision making. In fact, in addition to the legislation itself, the rules of the DOE rely upon the scoring system as a measure for its actions. Therefore, this court also relied upon the study. In this instance, the study created a mechanism for the State itself to determine if funding of capital construction meets constitutional...

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35 practice notes
  • Bogdanski v. Budzik, S-17-0049
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 24, 2018
    ...consider issues not raised by them and not supported by cogent argument and authoritative citation." State v. Campbell Cty. Sch. Dist. , 2001 WY 90, ¶ 35, 32 P.3d 325, 333 (Wyo. 2001). We should not deviate from this rule when sua sponte modification of the standard for summary judgment cou......
  • Rodriguez v. State, S-18-0083
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 5, 2019
    ...consider issues not raised by them and not supported by cogent argument and authoritative citation." State v. Campbell Cnty. School Dist. , 2001 WY 90, ¶ 35, 32 P.3d 325, 333 (Wyo. 2001). We have "consistently refused to address claims not supported by cogent argument or citation to pertine......
  • Seymore v. State, No. 05-179.
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • February 23, 2007
    ...not raised by them and not supported by cogent argument and authoritative citation.") (quoting State v. Campbell County School District, 2001 WY 90, ¶ 35, 32 P.3d 325, 333 (Wyo.2001)); and W.R.A.P. 7.01(f) (requiring appellant to set forth an argument with respect to the issues presented fo......
  • Powers v. State, No. S-13-0052
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 3, 2014
    ...children, the powers of each branch of government are bound by the mandates and the constraints of the Wyoming Constitution.Campbell II, 2001 WY 90, ¶ 32, 32 P.3d 325, 332 (Wyo. 2001).[¶31] There is no question that the legislature has the power to alter the powers and duties of the Superin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • Bogdanski v. Budzik, S-17-0049
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 24, 2018
    ...consider issues not raised by them and not supported by cogent argument and authoritative citation." State v. Campbell Cty. Sch. Dist. , 2001 WY 90, ¶ 35, 32 P.3d 325, 333 (Wyo. 2001). We should not deviate from this rule when sua sponte modification of the standard for summary judgment cou......
  • Rodriguez v. State, S-18-0083
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 5, 2019
    ...consider issues not raised by them and not supported by cogent argument and authoritative citation." State v. Campbell Cnty. School Dist. , 2001 WY 90, ¶ 35, 32 P.3d 325, 333 (Wyo. 2001). We have "consistently refused to address claims not supported by cogent argument or citation to pertine......
  • Seymore v. State, No. 05-179.
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • February 23, 2007
    ...not raised by them and not supported by cogent argument and authoritative citation.") (quoting State v. Campbell County School District, 2001 WY 90, ¶ 35, 32 P.3d 325, 333 (Wyo.2001)); and W.R.A.P. 7.01(f) (requiring appellant to set forth an argument with respect to the issues presented fo......
  • Powers v. State, No. S-13-0052
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 3, 2014
    ...children, the powers of each branch of government are bound by the mandates and the constraints of the Wyoming Constitution.Campbell II, 2001 WY 90, ¶ 32, 32 P.3d 325, 332 (Wyo. 2001).[¶31] There is no question that the legislature has the power to alter the powers and duties of the Superin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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