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ERIC Number: EJ763363
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Judging Money: When Courts Decide How to Spend Taxpayer Dollars
Dunn, Josh; Derthick, Martha
Education Next, v7 n1 p68-74 Win 2007
Since the 1970s, proponents of greater spending in disadvantaged school districts have pursued their goal through litigation in state courts. They have brought suits in 45 of the 50 states. These suits began with claims of equity, which sought to redistribute revenues from rich to poor districts. Disappointed with the results, within a decade the plaintiffs substituted "adequacy" for "equity"--and have had more success. Often the victories for adequacy are only the beginning of prolonged and inconclusive struggles within the ruling courts and between the courts and legislatures or governors. But sometimes the outcomes are radical. In a path-breaking suit in Kentucky, the state supreme court in 1989 found virtually everything about that state's schools to be unconstitutional, and the legislature responded with major reforms. More recently, in March 2006, an appellate court in New York State ordered its elected officials to increase operating aid for New York City schools by between $4.7 and $5.63 billion a year and by $9.2 billion over five years for capital improvements. Adequacy lawsuits have proved a serious threat to the right of citizens to have their taxes determined by elected officials who are in a position to weigh competing claims for public support and to judge the relative efficacy of spending for particular purposes. (Contains 1 figure.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky; New York
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001; Rose v Council for Better Education