The first story in an NPR series traces the legal challenges and decisions concerning the way public schools are funded in the U.S.
On average, the story says, public schools receive about 45 percent of their funding from local property taxes, with 45 percent from the state and 10 percent from the federal government. That formula makes it very difficult for districts that have low property values, and therefore low property tax income, to adequately fund their schools, and it produces severe inequity between schools in poor neighborhoods and those in more well-off locations.
"Since the early 1970s, nearly every state has seen at least one lawsuit over how it pays for schools and whether the result is fair or adequate," writes NPR's Corey Turner.In 1973, in an important decision in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court ruled that "there is no right to equal funding in education under the U.S. Constitution."
"As a result of Rodriguez, the federal courts essentially washed their hands of the problem. And they turned it over to the states," Michael Rebell, executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, is quoted as saying. The decision exonerated the federal government from guaranteeing that state and local funding formulas were fair and equitable.
Published Monday, Apr 18, 2016