At Last: KMTG Client Sacramento City Unified Prevails After Long Legal Fight Allowing Use of Waldorf Teaching Methods

Sacramento | June 18, 2012

The Sacramento Bee reported on June 16 that after 14 years and more than half a million dollars in legal fees, Sacramento City Unified School District appears to have cleared its final hurdle in its fight to offer Waldorf-inspired instruction in its public schools. The full story is here.

KMTG attorneys Michelle Cannon, Christian Keiner and Chelsea Olson successfully litigated the case for the District in a suit filed by a nonprofit group – People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools, or PLANS Inc. – which sued the district in 1998, alleging that public schools, or publicly funded charter schools , violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause by offering Waldorf methods instruction. The threshold question was whether anthroposophy, the method of inquiry which led to the creation of private Waldorf schools, is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes.

The case has been in and out of court since PLANS first was deemed to have the taxpayer standing to sue in 1999. Over the years, the case has been tossed out and reinstated, has had two one-day bench trials and has made three appearances before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last week, the 9th Circuit issued an unpublished decision to uphold the trial court judgment in favor of Sacramento City Unified.  Please view our Legal Alert for a detailed analysis of this case.

Says KMTG's Michelle Cannon, "They can request rehearing or reconsideration from the 9th Circuit, but there is virtually no chance of that being granted. They can petition to the Supreme Court, but this case doesn't meet those requirements. It's really over at this point."

Congratulations to Michelle and her team and their client, Sacramento City Unified School District for the well-earned victory.