The state School Boards Association, Council of School Superintendents, United Teachers, and the School Administrators have filed yet another lawsuit against Gov. David Paterson, challenging the legality and constitutionality of his decision to withhold $2.1 billion worth of payments scheduled for March 31.

The money is not due by statute until June 1. Paterson has said the state intends to meet that deadline, assuming it has sufficient cash on hand to cover the payment. (He has also said that the state will run out of money in June, so it’s unclear which of those statements is going to trump the other).

This same group sued Paterson the last time he withheld scheduled payments ($582 million back in December). At the time, the governor said the state would send out the money as soon as its fiscal picture improved, and he kept his word on that one, which caused the groups to stand down on their legal action.

In a joint statement, the groups said:

“The primary goal of both these lawsuits is to ensure that state officials follow state laws, as they have sworn to do.”

“Most school aid is paid according to formulas and schedules set in state law. Unless those laws are changed by the Legislature, the payments must be made. We feel obligated to prevent the precedent of a Governor choosing which laws he will follow.”

“Like the Governor, school boards and superintendents must oversee budgets. We respect the cash-flow difficulties the state faces and school districts are willing to be part of a solution. But any solution must give schools adequate warning to plan for payment delays, a date by which they can count on being paid in full, and it must be done by amending laws for this one-time emergency, not by ignoring them. “

(Note: Apparently, the original Pdf of the suit was missing P. 4, which reminds me of a certain would-be AG once upon a time…Anyway, here’s the complete version).

Summons and Complaint_1