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ILLINOIS

Lewis E. v. Spagnolo, 186 Ill. 2d 198, 710 N.E.2d 798 (Ill. 1999).

The Illinois Supreme Court reversed an appellate court ruling and upheld the dismissal with prejudice of plaintiffs' claims, stating that “the plaintiffs could not state a claim based upon violation of the education article of the Illinois constitution” and that questions relating to the quality of education were solely for the legislative branch to answer. 186 Ill. 2d at 210, 710 N.E.2d at 805.

 

Comm. for Educ. Rights v. Edgar, 174 Ill. 2d 1, 672 N.E.2d 1178 (Ill. 1996).

The Illinois Supreme Court in this case found that disparities in educational funding that resulted from differences in local property wealth did not offend the “efficiency” requirement of the state constitution, and ruled that the question of whether the educational institutions and services provided by the state were “high quality” was outside the sphere of the judicial function.  The court held that funding disparities based on local wealth passed a rational basis test. It ruled that disparities in school funding did not violate the state constitution’s equal protection guarantee because education is not a fundamental right, and the Court therefore would not apply strict scrutiny to the funding scheme. 174 Ill. 2d at 32, 672 N.E.2d at 1193.

 

Jenkins v. Leininger, 277 Ill. App. 3d 313,  (Ill. App. Ct. 1995).

The court ruled that the right to a high quality education was not a “fundamental right" for purposes of an equal protection claim, and found that the state's reliance on residence for school assignment determinations was rationally related to the purpose of providing an educational system to all residents.  277 Ill. App. 3d at 324, 659 N.E.2d at 1374.

 

Cronin v. Lindberg, 66 Ill. 2d 47, 360 N.E.2d 360 (Ill. 1976).

The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the action of the state superintendent of schools to reduce funding to a school board in a year in which it did not keep schools open for a full school term, stating that there is “no constitutional requirement that a legislature distribute State aid funds without conditioning a school district's receipt thereof upon compliance with certain basic, minimum educational requirements.” 66 Ill. 2d at 59, 360 N.E.2d at 365.

 

Blase v. State of Illinois, 55 Ill. 2d 94, 302 N.E.2d 46 (Ill. 1973).

The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' actions seeking to have certain portions of the state school code related to state funding of local school districts declared invalid.  Plaintiffs argued that the constitutional provision stating that the state “has the primary responsibility” for financing education required the state to provide not less than fifty percent of the funds needed to operate and maintain public elementary and secondary institutions and services, but the Court determined that this provision was intended “to express a goal or objective, and not to state a specific command.” 55 Ill. 2d at 98, 302 N.E.2d at 48.