Since the early 1970s, state court litigation has been brought in forty-six of the fifty states, with plaintiffs asserting legal claims under state equal protection and education clauses. These lawsuits were prompted by various factors. In many southern states, inequities in school funding are vestiges of formerly racially segregated school systems outlawed in Brown v. Board of Education. Heavy reliance by states on local property assessments and taxes to pay for education is also the cause of inequities leading to litigation. Taxpayer resistance to spending on education has been another cause. Nearly all of the recent court cases involving financing of school facilities had their origins in rural states or in the rural areas of larger states. This special edition of the Nebraska Law Review is therefore intended to fill an important gap in legal scholarship by reviewing school finance law as it relates to rural education. When courts explicitly address rural concerns and find for rural plaintiffs, they are serving the time-honored judicial role of protector of the more vulnerable citizens in a democracy.
Equitable and Adequate Funding for Rural Schools: Ensuring Equal Educational Opportunity for All Students,
82 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol82/iss1/2