This Article discusses the protracted Idaho Schools for Equal Educational Opportunity ("ISEEO") K-12 school funding litigation in Idaho - litigation initiated by plaintiffs under Idaho's state constitutional education clause in the early 1990s, which resulted in six reported decisions by the Idaho Supreme Court and two additional decisions in follow-on federal and state court cases and which, although leading to the state Supreme Court's affirming the trial court's determination that the Idaho legislature had failed to adequately fund public education under the thoroughness provision of the education clause, resulted in the state high court's dismissing the case without addressing the remedial phase of the case or granting plaintiffs a remedy. The Article addresses the ISEEO cases in the context of judicial and scholarly treatment of state constitutional K-12 school funding cases. Specifically, the Article opines that the Idaho Supreme Court's failure to address the remedial phase of the case could be fairly predicted by its prior decisions in the ISEEO matter, was likely motivated by, among other reasons, a desire to avoid a constitutional confrontation with the Idaho legislature, and, although within the realm of school funding cases decided and scholarly views held nationally, given the stakes involved - the adequacy of public education being funded and delivered to Idaho's schoolchildren - and the manner in which the remedial phase of the case was (not) decided - without a hearing, briefing or evaluation of evidence, constituted a dark day in the annals of Idaho jurisprudence. The Article concludes by discussing and analyzing possible post-ISEEO steps forward by Idaho K-12 school funding advocates, including use of preclusion doctrines to build on the successes of the ISEEO plaintiffs and/or renewed use of the Idaho citizens' initiative process to increase funding for schoolfunding in the state.
58 Idaho L. Rev. 381 (2021)