As president of the Robla School District Board of Trustees, I take my duty to spend taxpayer dollars as effectively as possible very seriously.

That’s what makes it so frustrating when abusive lawsuits are filed against the district in search of a quick payday – something that happens with alarming frequency. With each lawsuit, the district has to use taxpayer dollars in its defense. When those dollars are diverted to courtrooms instead of classrooms, the only winners are the personal injury lawyers and those trying to cash in at the expense of California’s children.

This problem isn’t limited to school districts. California’s laws enable and encourage lawsuits at every turn, and it is costing taxpayers dearly. In fact, a recent report from California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse found that just 17 of California’s 482 cities and 58 counties spent more than $1 billion on lawsuits over a four-year period from 2008-2012. That’s more than $1 billion in taxpayer money that couldn’t be spent on schools, parks, or public safety, all in only 17 local governments. Just imagine how much money is spent by public organizations statewide due to lawsuits.

Our legal system is designed to provide justice for those who have been injured, not make a handful of plaintiffs and their attorneys richer. California’s citizens deserve to have their tax dollars spent on the services they need, not siphoned off by unscrupulous attorneys who are willing to abuse the system to line their own pockets.

Sadly, this won’t change until California’s legislature passes meaningful legal reforms that remove the incentives that encourage lawsuit abuse in the first place. Until then, high litigation costs will likely continue to hurt our children’s education and waste taxpayer dollars.