LITIGATION BY PLANS


In consequence of its view, PLANS in February 1998 filed a federal lawsuit in Sacramento, California, naming as defendants the Sacramento Unified School District, which operates a "Waldorf Method" magnet school, the John Morse school, and the Twin Ridges Elementary School District, also in California, which has established a number of  "Waldorf inspired" charter schools.

The two school districts disputed the litigation, and in May 1999 the Sacramento School District moved for a summary judgement in the case. In September 1999, the judge in the case ruled against the litigation by PLANS in deciding that the public school programs using Waldorf methods have a secular (non-religious) purpose

To investigate whether Waldorf education have the unintended consequence of advancing anthroposophy, he however let the case proceed. A following offer by the School Districts to resolve the case was rejected by PLANS.

The case was expected to be heard in February 2001, but was postponed to June. In the meantime, a decision in March by an Appellate Court in New York led to a review in May of the case by the judge. The decision of the Appellate Court holds that a broad challenge to the expenditure of tax dollars for the ordinary costs of operating schools is insufficient to confer taxpayer standing on a plaintiff, something argued by PLANS.

Having ruled in September 1999 that the public school programs using Waldorf methods have a secular (non-religious) purpose, he now in May (2001) also ruled that PLANS could not show that substantial money was being spent to teach religion at the schools. He also found that PLANS had failed to demonstrate that, were it not for the Waldorf method, the new Yuba River Charter School would not have opened. As for the John Morse Waldorf Magnet School in Sacramento, "it existed before it began operating as a Waldorf methods magnet school in September of 1995," the judge noted. 

PLANS has appealed the decision.

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Last updated 18 July 2002