By Anna Lukemeyer

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Extra info for Courts As Policymakers: School Finance Reform Litigation (American Legal Institutions)

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The following decisions illustrate common patterns 29 in courts’ decisions on education clause claims and the application of this framework and coding scheme to those patterns. 28 The summary code simply characterized the single standard or combination of standards in one code. In general, if a decision was coded as clearly or fairly clearly accepting a standard/ object combination, that standard was incorporated into the summary code. 29 The cases presented here exemplify common patterns among courts’ treatment of education clause claims.

State (1995) and Reform Educational Financing Inequities Today v. Cuomo (1995). The New York high court issued its opinions in these two cases on the same day, and each developed the same legal principles. Counting each of these decisions separately for purposes of frequencies and other statistics seemed to give double weight to the doctrine of one court when that doctrine was apparently developed as a unit. Therefore, I treated the New York decisions in a manner similar to the cases in which the court issued multiple opinions, coding each opinion separately, and then developing a single series code summarizing both opinions.

Alone, an equality standard implies no absolute minimum, and is satisfied so long as all districts spend equally (or provide equal resources), regardless of level. Access Equality. Access equality attempts to counter differences in tax bases across school districts, and to equalize each district’s revenue-raising capability. This standard is met when each school district can produce equal amounts of the chosen equity object with a given tax effort. Reform efforts (such as district power equalizing grants) addressing this goal typically attempt to ensure that all districts taxing themselves at the same rate are able to raise the same revenue per pupil (Ladd & Yinger 1994).

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