The relationship between public school desegregation and funding litigation
Kiracofe, Christine Susan
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It has been fifty years since the U.S. Supreme Court held that separate race schools are inherently unequal in Brown v. Board of Education. Through judicial efforts, over the past five decades, de jure segregation in the United States has been largely eradicated. But, a series of Court decisions in the 1990s has made it increasingly easier for previously segregated school districts to be released from judicial oversight. Many schools have subsequently resegregated – some to pre-Brown levels. This paper argues that school funding concerns have been underlying issues in desegregation litigation from the very beginning, and that, similarly, race has frequently been an issue in funding cases. Thus, a natural relationship exists between desegregation and school funding litigation. The relevant legal history of public school desegregation and funding litigation in the United States is reviewed, as is the current status of the law in these two areas. Finally, this paper examines the relationship between these two veins of litigation and considers how recent cases such as Sheff v. O’Neill, and Grutter v. Bollinger may pave the way for future litigants.