State constitutional provisions empower or require state legislatures to provide a system of public education. The state legislature has the authority to tax and distribute funds for public schools. Litigation that arises usually involves the methods used to collect taxes and distribute revenue to districts. Many cases question the legal authority of school districts to issue bonds, hold bond elections or impose fees and charges.

Additional Resources

NSBA Amicus Brief Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State (N.Y. Ct. of Appls.)
School finance: adequacy of state's system of funding public education.

NSBA Amicus Brief DeRolph v. State (U.S. Sup. Ct.)
School Finance: state constitutional right to public education - availability of remedy - jurisdiction

NSBA Amicus Brief Maryland State Board of Education v. Bradford (Md. Ct. of Appls.)
Finance: justiciability of educational adequacy challenge – Separation of Powers

NSBA Amicus Brief Abbeville County School District v. South Carolina (S.C.)
Finance: How state courts have evaluated funding adequacy claims under state constitutions.

NSBA Amicus Brief Committee for Educational Equality v. State of Missouri (Mo.)
Finance: Adequacy of state funding of schools under Missouri constitution; how other state courts have evaluated funding adequacy claims under state constitutions. Brief filed by Missouri School Boards’ Association, prepared by Education Justice at Education Law Center, and also joined by the Rural Schools and Community Trust. Filed 1/26/2009.

National Conference of State Legislatures, National Center on Education Finance
Resources for state officials on school finance.

No Small Change: Targeting Money Toward Student Performance
Education Week’s Quality Counts 2005 report provides an overview of the legal, policy, and political issues and debates over public school funding in the U.S. The report includes details on how each state finances education.

Pennsylvania School Finance 101
An online guide to school finance in Pennsylvania from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The Committee for Education Funding
The Committee for Education Funding and its member organizations work toward the common goal of achieving adequate federal support for our nation's education system.

The Condition of Education
National Center for Education Statistics. This is an annual report providing data on 56 indicators. Download entire report, or download information on specific indicators below.

The EdFin Public School District Finance Peer Search
The Public School District Finance Peer Search tool provided by the Education Finance Statistics Center (EDFIN) permits you to compare the finances of a school district with its peers. Peer districts are districts which share similarities among such characteristics as total students; student teacher ratio; percent children in poverty; district type; and locale code. Aside from an automatic standard peer search, users can search for school districts by distance from a zip code, or can select school districts they wish to compare a school district to.

The National Center for Education Statistics' Education Finance Statistics Center (EDFIN)
This program of the U.S. Department of Education compiles and reports voluminous data finance and expenditure data on public elementary and secondary education.

National Access Network, Teachers College, Columbia University
Online collection of national and state-by-state information on school finance systems, finance equity and adequacy litigation, and “costing-out” studies that attempt to establish a data-driven, instead of politically-driven, basis for school finance formulae. The mission of the National Access Network is “to promote meaningful educational opportunities for all children, especially those low-income and minority children currently being denied this opportunity.”

Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2008-09 (Fiscal Year 2009)
This March 2009 report from the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics contains basic revenue and expenditure data, by state, for public elementary and secondary education for school year 2006-07, the last fiscal year for which this annual report has been published. The report contains state-level data on revenues by source and expenditures by function, including expenditures per pupil.

Protecting Public Education From Tax Giveaways to Corporations
January 2003 report by the National Education Association and Good Jobs First detailing the impact of property tax abatements and tax increment financing (TIF) on school budgets. Provides state-by-state information on policies, including degree to which school boards are allowed to take part in decisions affecting funding for schools.

The Problems with Property Tax Revenue Caps
June 2007 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities detailing how property tax caps typically cannot change rising costs facing localities, over time are not offset by promised increases in state aid, may exacerbate inequities. Suggests alternative means of providing property tax relief. The Center “conducts research and analysis to inform public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that the needs of low-income families and individuals are considered in these debates.”

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