After 24 years of court battles, a landmark school equity lawsuit aimed at improving education opportunities in South Carolina’s poorest, rural schools has been dismissed.
The state’s supreme court closed the case in a 3-2 order, praising state lawmakers for responding in “good faith” to the court’s 2014 mandate to find ways to fix South Carolina’s failing public schools. State House leaders, who asked the court to dismiss them from the case. More than 30 poor, rural school districts sued the state in 1993, arguing they did not have the money or resources to provide children with a quality education.
Writing for the majority in the Nov. 17 order, Justice John Kittridge said the court did not have the authority to supervise the legislative process, calling the 2014 decision a “gross overreach of judicial power.”
Chief Justice Donald Beatty, one of two dissenters, wrote that the court had “lost the will to do even the minimal amount necessary to avoid becoming complicit actors in the deprivation of a minimally adequate education to South Carolina’s children.”
A version of this article appeared in the November 29, 2017 edition of Education Week as S.C. Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuit Alleging Inequity in School Funding