LOS ANGELES - The American Civil Liberties Union and the State of California reached a settlement agreement in the class action education lawsuit Williams v. California in August 2004. The Williams lawsuit was originally filed in May 2000 by the ACLU, the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Public Advocates, Inc., and other groups on behalf of California students who attended substandard schools in California, and charged the state with reneging on its constitutional obligation to provide students with the bare essentials necessary for education: sufficient instructional materials, adequate learning facilities, qualified teachers, etc.

All current and future California public school students can now find out more information about the settlement by calling 1-877-532-2533 (toll free, in English and Spanish) or visiting either www.aclusocal.org or www.decentschools.org. Information available to students and their parents includes a complete copy of the settlement agreement, the plaintiffs' notice of settlement, settlement legislation, and additional news releases.

The hearing for final approval of the settlement has been scheduled for 9:00 a.m., March 23, 2005 in San Francisco Superior Court: Judge Peter J. Busch, Dept. 210, 400 McAllister St., San Francisco, California 94102-4514. Class members who wish to object to the parties' settlement agreement should file written objections with the Court no later than Feb. 15, 2005, by mailing them to Judge Busch at the Court's address and a copy to the following address: The Williams Education Case, Morrison & Foerster, 425 Market St., San Francisco, California 94105-2482. Written objections should include the basis for each objection, as well as the objector's name, address, contact telephone number, and if applicable, e-mail address.

For more information please visit www.decentschools.org.