Source: The News & Observer
The newest chapter in the state’s long-running education case started in late August and continues with several hurdles coming its way.
A state Supreme Court order that mandated legislators to fully fund the Leandro remedial plan has historically been met with resistance from state Republican leaders.
For months, state Republicans have refused to adhere to Superior Court Judge David Lee’s court order to ensure students across the state have the opportunity to obtain a sound, basic education as guaranteed in the state constitution.
Despite support from educators, parents and activists to fully fund the Leandro plan, state Republicans have done little to take action.
Back in March, Justice Paul Newby ordered the removal of Superior Court Judge David Lee – a move that signaled to many an act of undermining the courts, and skirting the Republican-led General Assembly’s responsibility of properly funding schools.
However, the renewed oral arguments give Leandro plaintiffs a chance to hold Republican legislators accountable by reinstating Lee’s previous order.
According to a 2004 court ruling in Leandro II, “The court is empowered to order the deficiency remedied and if the offending branch fails to do so…. the court is empowered to provide relief by imposing a specific remedy and instructing the recalcitrant state actors to implement it.”
Essentially, the state Supreme Court could order the legislature to provide enough funding to meet what the court has found to be a state constitutional requirement under the guise of a “sound basic education,” according to The News & Observer.
Currently, with a Democratic majority state Supreme Court, students and public schools could finally receive what they have been owed by state Republican leaders in fully funding education. Yet, if Republicans gain a majority in the state court in November, North Carolina students’ constitutional right may be in limbo.
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