The Richmond Unified School District (the district) (defendant) experienced a period of mounting financial deficits. In late April 1991, the district announced that it planned to end that year’s school term six weeks early. Thomas Butt and other district parents (plaintiffs) filed a class-action lawsuit against the district and the State of California (defendant), alleging that the unexpected early closure violated the students’ right to an effective education and discriminated against students in the district compared to other students in California. Several district teachers submitted declarations that the shortened school year would prevent the completion of instruction and grading essential for academic promotion, high school graduation, and college entrance. The plaintiffs requested an injunction to prohibit the district from ending the school year early. The trial court granted the injunction, and the defendants appealed. The appeal was transferred directly to the California Supreme Court.