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date: 21 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Although education is not a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution, every state constitution has a provision mandating, at a minimum, that the state provide a system of free public schools. In school finance litigation, the plaintiffs claim that the state legislature has violated the state constitution by failing to fund the public schools in an equitable (“equity suit”) or adequate (“adequacy suit”) manner. Despite scores of cases and a significant amount of academic commentary, “there are few certainties in the school funding litigation process.”This chapter explores, in three parts, how courts have analyzed state constitutional provisions in school finance litigation. The first part demonstrates how states finance the public schools and why there are often disparities between school districts. The second part discusses state constitutional theories behind school finance litigation. The third part examines considerations involved in the jurisdictional, merits, and remedial phases of school finance litigation.

Keywords: School finance litigation, School funding, State constitutional law, Equity, Adequacy, Right to education

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