The N.C. Supreme Court upheld a lower court's order today along party lines that required hundreds of millions of dollars to be allocated for public education.
The case, Hoke County Board of Education v. North Carolina, is adjacent to the long-running Leandro case, which is centered around the clause in North Carolina's constitution saying that the state must provide all students with a "sound, basic education." The case is part of an ongoing legal battle originating with a case filed in 1994.
"It’s our constitutional duty to ensure every child has access to a sound basic education. As the N.C. Supreme Court has affirmed today, we must do more for our students all across North Carolina," Gov. Roy Cooper said in a Tweet about the decision.
The opinion, written by Associate Justice Robin Hudson, said the state has failed to provide this sound, basic education to students for more than 17 years, and that the court must step in to provide a remedy for the constitutional violation.
This remedy, Hudson wrote, requires the state continuously appropriate funds to ensure this level of education is being met. Because the General Assembly had not provided this allocation, the Supreme Court must order the allocation of funds, she wrote.
The Supreme Court ordered a trial court to recalculate the exact allocation necessary, but upheld the constitutionality of the decision to bypass the General Assembly.
"While we recognize the primacy of the executive and legislative branches in creating and implementing our system of public education, we cannot and will not tolerate the ongoing violation of constitutional rights," Hudson's opinion said.