ERIC Number: ED273006
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986
Reference Count: 0
School Finance Reform through Litigation: Expressway or Cul-de-Sac?
Rossmiller, Richard A.
School finance reform through court action has failed on the federal level and has had mixed success in state courts. State litigation focuses primarily on equal protection provisions and on constitutional working. The 1976 "Serrano v. Priest" decision in California has given the finance reform movement impetus from its assertion that an equal protection clause is in violation if the amount of school district revenue per pupil is a function of the district's wealth rather than that of the state. The countervailing argument centers on the state's objective of local control. Wording of constitutional provisions are often vague and inconsistently applied from state to state. Three states have failed to comply with their constitutional requirements, the precedent set by the 1973"Robinson v. Cahill" decision in New Jersey. A state's legislative and executive branches--not the courts--are responsible for devising and implementing finance program revisions. Promotion of local control generally will not survive the required constitutional test when education is determined to be a state's fundamental interest. Litigation has drawn attention to finance system inequities, but it should be used in conjunction with other efforts to achieve action by state executive and legislative branches of government. (CJH)
Descriptors: Compliance (Legal), Constitutional Law, Court Litigation, Educational Change, Educational Equity (Finance), Educational Finance, Elementary Secondary Education, Expenditure per Student, Financial Policy, School District Spending, School Support, State Aid, State School District Relationship
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers; Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Jones, Thomas N., Ed. and Semler, Darel P., Ed. School Law Update, 1986 (EA 018 725).