Litigation Essay

1507 words - 7 pages

Regardless of the school, public or private, finances play a major role in its survival. While school districts and schools struggle to survive amid the ongoing and strenuous standards for success, provisions must still be made to ensure that these entities are financially sound (Hall, 2006). The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the ramifications of school finance litigation and practice in the state of Florida. In addition, this paper will be used to research the historical evolution of educational finance and explain the most significant paradigm shifts that have taken place in Florida. Finally, this paper will be designed to evaluate the ways current financial decisions resulting from recent litigation have shaped the educational environment and its outcomes. For this purpose, recent litigation and events in Florida will be used to support these claims.
Prior to the implementation of No Child Left Behind, changes in educational policies were occurring across the United States. While equity and adequacy remained at the forefront of purposeful legislation, states continued to fight for an equal distribution of funding from the national and state levels (Dittmer, 2004). Consequently, school finances became the nucleus of many debates relative to appropriate distribution of funds. The sole purpose of these funds was to ensure the children received adequate resources and, implicitly, states would ensure that these resources were equalized, eventually leading to equalized performance and outcome (p. 175). However, findings over the years have shown significant constraints across states related to the fairness and adequacy of funding. One state in particular, Florida, has been plagued by numerous school funding cases over the past fifteen years (Reed, 1998). On the heels of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriquez (1973), public school districts across America saw of wave of school finance cases because education was not considered a necessary right according to federal law (Reed, 1998). For Florida’s educational system, equity challenges were a main focus of despair since many districts received more funds per student than others. To comply with these legal challenges, the Florida legislature replaced the MFP (Minimum Foundation Program) with the FEFP (Florida Education Finance Program). The FEFP would be used to fund districts based on the number of full-time students were in the district. In addition the FEFP allocated funds so that poorer districts would be able to receive more funds per student (Herrington & Weider, 2001, p. 521). In 1979, FEFP was challenged by the Gindl Department of Education, Escambia, Florida. The school district challenged the discretionary millage provision which may lead to funding shortfalls in property poor districts and funding increases in property rich districts. Additionally, in 1993, Kay Glasser and others sued Florida’s Department of Education over the discretionary millage provision. Glasser...

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