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Sunday, May 1, 2016

How Much Does Your School District Spend Per Pupil?

From Jim Gerl's Special Education Law Blog

By Jim Gerl, Esq.
April 23, 2016

Spending more money per student does not necessarily mean a better education. It is, however, an indicator of a better education. It also says a lot about the priorities of a community.

National Public Radio is running a fascinating series on school funding. The link below leads to the article as well as an interactive map where you can look up how much your district spends per pupil as compared to other districts locally to nationally.

The article and map may be found here.

Here are some quotes from the series:

"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. Of the many funding lawsuits that have played out in the nation's courts, one stands out: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez. The suit, which made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, struck at the heart of the nation's school-funding system. The plaintiffs argued that any school-funding system that depends on local property tax revenue is fundamentally unfair to poorer districts.

Specifically, the suit claimed, the way we pay for our schools violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause, which says that no state shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'

In a split 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against Rodriguez, saying there is no right to equal funding in education under the U.S. Constitution. Not that the system is fair or balanced — just that the federal government has no obligation to make it so.

In his forceful dissent, Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote, 'I cannot accept such an emasculation of the Equal Protection Clause in the context of this case.' "

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