From Briggs v. Eliott to Abbeville v. South Carolina:
Allen, Delia Bromell
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One of the central questions of education finance is how much funding is enough to provide a specific quality of education. Concern over the adverse effects of inadequate school funding on student achievement has led to multiple lawsuits throughout the United States. However, there still remains considerable debate over both the effect of school funding and education finance litigation on both effective policy and student achievement. The purpose of this study is to explore the historical legal landscape of school funding litigation in South Carolina. Inspired by the Abbeville v. South Carolina 2014 ruling, this study is important to the state of South Carolina because almost 70 years after the first school funding lawsuits were filed against the state, the state Supreme Court has set a precedent for school funding litigation in South Carolina. Using a legal research methodological approach, this study focuses on the litigation strategies and adjudication of school finance lawsuits in South Carolina, along with the implications to policy and student outcomes. Situated at the intersection of law, finance, and politics, this study also illuminates factors beyond the law and logic that possibly influenced judicial decisions in South Carolina’s school funding cases. The research questions guiding this study are: 1. What is the relevant legal history of school funding litigation in South Carolina? 2. What factors beyond law and logic were involved in school funding cases in South Carolina? 3. What was the legislative response to the litigation decisions? 4. How effective has school funding litigation been in improving funding and student outcomes?