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ERIC Number: ED506076
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
A Guide to Public Engagement and School Finance Litigation
Zhang, Julia
Public Education Network
Lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of public education funding systems are currently underway in 21 states. Litigation represents an opportunity to restructure the ways in which public education is financed, expanded, and delivered to children across the country. Public engagement plays a uniquely important role to ensure real improvement in schools. This Guide was developed to encourage community-based organizations to employ public engagement strategies while school finance litigation takes place in their states. While litigation may at times seem daunting and complex to non-lawyers, community-based organizations can do much to become involved in the process. Organizations can utilize public engagement strategies to ensure that the outcome of the litigation reflects the interests of constituent groups and the public. This Guide is organized to make the process of school finance litigation meaningful and accessible to a large audience. The Guide is divided into three sections: (1) An introductory section explains why public engagement and community involvement are critical in the fight for public school resources, and how community-based organizations can play active and direct roles in helping to secure resources for public schools; (2) The second section explains how education finance policy is made in theory and practice. Historically, what has been the role of the legislature, the court, and the school district in the policymaking process?; (3) The third section explores where local education funds ("LEF") and other community-based organizations fit into this process. We articulate a four-phase approach for community-based organizations to impact school finance litigation. Each phase is illustrated by an example of a support role played by an LEF or other community-based organization. The guide contains three appendices: (1) Resources with Information and Experience Regarding Public Engagement and School Finance Litigation; (2) Following are Sample Criteria for Joining an Amicus Brief, Developed from Public Education Network's Criteria; and (3) "E-advocacy" as a Public Engagement Strategy. (Contains 25 endnotes.)
Public Education Network. 601 Thirteenth Street NW Suite 710 South, Washington, DC 20005-3808. Tel: 202-628-7460; Fax: 202-628-1893; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Public Education Network
Identifiers - Location: Alaska; Kentucky; New Jersey; New York