ERIC Number: EJ914668
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Reference Count: 10
Litigation and School Finance: A Cautionary Tale
Russo, Charles J.
School Business Affairs, v76 n8 p20-23 Oct 2010
Beginning in the early 1970s, plaintiffs initiated a veritable tidal wave of litigation over financing public education in states with unequal funding for students in poor school systems. In the only case on school finance to reach the United States Supreme Court, "San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez" (1973), the justices rejected a challenge to Texas' method of funding public schools on the basis that education is not a federally protected constitutional right. In so ruling, the Court opened the floodgates of litigation. Plaintiffs in the majority of states have succeeded in reforming about one-half of the school funding systems in the United States. In the most recent school finance case, "Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell" ("Rell" 2010), a plurality of justices held that since the plaintiffs' challenge to the state's system of funding was subject to judicial review, the dispute had to be remanded for a trial on the merits of their claims. In this article, the author provides an overview of school finance litigation and discusses the "Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell" case which represents the third round of litigation to reach the state's supreme court on the adequacy of financing public schools. As well-intentioned as the plurality's judgment in "Rell" appears to be in its quest to provide a quality education for all public school students in the state, its remanding the case for a trial opens a proverbial "can of worms" for three reasons. The author discusses these points which can serve as part of a cautionary tale for school business officials and others who are interested in public education.
Descriptors: Educational Finance, Court Litigation, Public Schools, Educational Equity (Finance), Funding Formulas, State Courts
Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). 11401 North Shore Drive, Reston, VA 20190. Tel: 866-682-2729; Fax: 703-478-0205; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.asbointl.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Connecticut; Kentucky; New Jersey; Texas
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Robinson v Cahill; Rodriguez v San Antonio Independent School District; Rose v Council for Better Education; Serrano v Priest