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Ch.7 School Finance and School Choice Issues


Serrano v. Priest (1971) California

·        Fiscal Neutrality - Education based on the “wealth” of the state not on the district

·        State has the ultimate responsibility for financing education

·        States can provide more rights for citizens, but can’t take rights away


San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973) U.S.

·        Opposite of Serrano v. Priest

·        Initiated by Mexican-American parents who are poor and reside in school districts having a low property tax base.

·        Court held funding of public schools are matters reserved for the state legislation and enforced by state courts.


Rose v. Council for Better Education (1989) Kentucky

·        Ordered school finance reform

·        Large variances in taxable property per student in the districts.

·        Under-funding was confirmed by the poor ranking of Kentucky students nationally

·        Court found entire education funding system was unconstitutional and concluded state legislature provide adequate funding


Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) U.S.

·        Opened door for voucher movement

·        Vouchers do not violate the Establishment Clause

·        The Ohio case is neutral with respect to religion