Ohio School-Funding Suit Leaves Mark After 20 Years

Posted on:

< < Back to

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Twenty years after the first decision in Ohio’s landmark school-funding lawsuit, hundreds of new school buildings dot the landscape and the notion of what constitutes an adequate education is regularly debated in U.S. state capitals.

Experts say those are two of the lasting impacts of DeRolph v. State, a lawsuit first decided on March 24, 1997, and revisited several times over 12 years before the high court eventually relinquished jurisdiction.

Justices ruled 4-3 that Ohio’s funding method failed to provide for the “thorough and efficient” system of public schools required by Ohio’s constitution.

In what became a lingering challenge – and a cautionary tale for other states – the ruling left determination of adequate funding levels to lawmakers and the governor and set no punishment for failing to comply.