The March 26 ruling by Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. gives state and local leaders one year to develop a "coordinated, effective education strategy" to ensure that all at-risk children have the opportunity for a sound basic education.
After a month of determining the next step to take in the case, Gov. Mike Easley, Attorney General Roy Cooper, legislative leaders, State Board of Education officials and N.C. Superintendent Mike Ward announced Monday that they had decided to appeal the ruling.
Ward said the action was taken because of concern that a good education should be expanded to include not only at-risk and poor students, but students in all districts.
"It matters to the state that we do a good job to assist youngsters at risk in the system," Ward said.
"But we need a bigger and more compelling vision than the judge's Robin Hood message."
Easley and Cooper released statements reflecting similar sentiments.
Easley's press release stated that the governor is still committed to advancing initiatives to benefit all regardless of the case's outcome.
"Our children deserve educational opportunities that go far beyond the minimal constitutional standards that are the focus of the case," Easley said.
Manning's ruling came nearly seven years after 10 families from five poor school districts first sued the state in May 1994, citing that children in poor counties receive an education unequal to that of children in richer counties.