Deconstructing Local Control: Ohio's Contribution
35 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2014
Date Written: 1996
This paper provides such an analysis in the context of Ohio's most recent education funding challenge, where plaintiffs have successfully argued, at least at the trial court level, that local control does not exist.
Part I begins with a brief description of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Rodriguez. It then examines the importance of local control to the Supreme Court's decision, even though there was a paucity of facts presented to the Court regarding the extent of local control in the State of Texas. Part I concludes by showing that, after Rodriguez, plaintiffs proceeded to challenge education funding laws under their respective state constitutions.
Part II begins with the first unsuccessful challenge to Ohio's education funding laws. It explains how the Ohio Supreme Court's approach to local control was virtually identical to the United States Supreme Court's approach. Part II concludes by setting the stage for the most recent challenge to Ohio's education funding legislation.
Part III analyzes the trial court's 478-page opinion which held that Ohio's current education funding legislation was unconstitutional. It then analyzes Ohio's rationale of local control as a means for justifying funding disparities between local school districts in Ohio. Part III's subsequent examination of numerous state requirements of all local school districts suggests that local control-to the extent it exists anywhere-does not exist in Ohio. Part III further describes the alternative grounds that the court found to declare the legislation unconstitutional under the state constitution. Part III concludes by briefly describing the appellate court decision which reversed the trial court decision. This article concludes by suggesting that future plaintiffs may be well served by examining the degree to which local control operates in those states, rather than assuming its existence.
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