NC public schools will continue to be underfunded following the latest state Supreme Court ruling on Leandro
The seemingly never-ending saga of whether North Carolina will fulfill its constitutional duty to provide all students the right to a sound, basic education is set to continue after the Republican-controlled state Supreme Court’s latest ruling.
The case involving the state’s school equity plan – known as Leandro – began in 1994 and 29 years later, public schools have yet to be fully funded thanks to Republicans’ efforts to prevent that from happening.
Earlier this month, the right-wing-controlled state Supreme Court voted 5-2 to reinstate a lower court’s order blocking a state Superior Court judge’s ruling in November 2022 that required the state to fund the plan.
In November, the then-Democratic majority Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in favor of the late Judge David Lee’s order, which would have increased public school funding in line with the Leandro Plan.
With the Supreme Court flipping control after last year’s election, the NCGOP and the new court have felt emboldened to do whatever they please, including rehearing already decided cases and taking steps to roll back progress made on public education funding.
The two remaining Democratic judges on the high court dissented following the recent ruling.
“Today’s order abandons the concepts of respect for precedent, law of the case, stare decisis, and the rule of law all in the name of preventing the State from complying with its constitutional duty to provide a sound basic education to the children of this state,” wrote Judge Anita Earls.
The Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan was developed by school funding experts and has been supported by Gov. Roy Cooper and the State Board of Education.