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    DeRolph v. State of Ohio: Ohio Supreme Court Decision in DeRolph III - September 6, 2001

    DeRolph v. State of Ohio
    The Ohio School Funding Litigation - 1991-2003



    Full text of the Ohio Supreme Court Decision of September 6, 2001


    The Court breakdown:

    MOYER, opinion author


    DOUGLAS and PFEIFER, JJ., separately concur.

    PFEIFER, J., separately concurs.

    LUNDBERG STRATTON, J., separately concurs.

    RESNICK, J., separately dissents.

    RESNICK and F.E. SWEENEY, JJ., separately dissent.

    COOK, J., separately dissents.

    The majority conclusion:

    To summarize, we observe that the state has chosen to retain a foundation program of funding primary and secondary public education. We find that, having so elected, it must, in order to meet the requirements of DeRolph I and DeRolph II, formulate the base cost of providing an adequate education by using all school districts meeting twenty of twenty-seven performance standards as set forth by the General Assembly in R.C. 3317.012(B)(1)(a) through (aa), without adjustments to exclude districts based on wealth screens, without rounding adjustments to include additional lower-spending districts, and without use of the “echo effect” adjustment, beginning effective July 1, 2001. In addition, the parity aid program established by the General Assembly must be fully funded no later than July 1, 2003.

    With full implementation of these modifications to the funding plan adopted by the General Assembly the plan will meet the test for constitutionality created in DeRolph I and DeRolph II. While the changes will have a fiscal impact, they will not require structural changes to the school foundation program set forth in R.C. Chapter 3317.

    One final observation is in order. Historically, the construction and maintenance of school facilities have been considered the responsibility of local school districts. By 1989, the General Assembly had begun addressing school facilities needs and committing funds to construction and repair of school buildings. We have described previously the substantial commitment of the state to the availability of adequate school buildings for every student enrolled in public education. However, the unmet needs are enormous and the time in which it is feasible to meet them is lengthy. We urge the General Assembly to review and consider alternative means of funding school buildings and related facilities.

    The state is hereby ordered to implement the changes described above. Because we have no reason to doubt defendants’ good faith, we have concluded there is no reason to retain jurisdiction of the matter before us. If the order receives less than full compliance, interested parties have remedies available to them.