Leandro v. State of North Carolina
North Carolina Supreme Court
488 S.E.2d 249 (1997)
The state of North Carolina (defendant) recognized the importance of public school education by providing for the establishment of public schools by taxation and otherwise in its constitution. Also, Article IX, § 2(2) authorized the state to require local governments to share in the costs of public education and authorized local governments to use local funds to add to their school programs. Yet parent Kathleen Leandro and other parents, students, and boards of education (plaintiffs) alleged that under North Carolina’s system of funding public education, using both state and local resources, some students were not receiving an adequate basic education and that students in poorer districts were not receiving equal educational opportunities. The parents, students, and boards of education from rural counties alleged that there were inequities in programs, student-teacher ratios, facilities, test scores, and so forth, between wealthy school districts and poor school districts. The parents, students, and boards of education alleged that this resulted in a denial of equal educational opportunities precipitated by variations in expenditures per student in different districts. The parents, students, and boards of education sought a declaratory judgment, and the case came before the North Carolina Supreme Court. North Carolina’s constitution and statutes recognized an inherent qualitative standard that students receive an adequate basic education, and the supreme court considered whether the constitution also required that students across the state receive equal educational opportunities.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Mitchell, C.J.)
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