Hoke County Bd. of Educ. v. State of North Carolina, 358 N.C. 605, 599 S.E.2d 365 (N.C. 2004) (“Leandro II”).

The North Carolina Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's finding that the State had violated the rights of at-risk children by failing to provide the resources to enable them to receive a sound basic education, as guaranteed under the North Carolina Constitution. The Court also affirmed the lower court's remedial order requiring the State to reassess school funding allocations and correct all deficiencies that prevent schools from delivering the constitutionally required education.  The Court reversed the trial court's order requiring the State to provide pre-kindergarten education to at-risk children. Instead, the Court deferred to the expertise of the legislative and executive branches, leaving it to them to design appropriate corrective action to meet the needs of at-risk preschool children.


Banks v. County of Buncombe, 128 N.C. App. 214, 494 S.E.2d 791 (N.C. Ct. App. 1998).

Plaintiffs, individuals and the Buncome County Board of Education, challenged the county’s method of distributing school funds on the grounds that it conflicted with a state statute governing apportionment of county appropriations and that it violated state constitutional equal protection and equal opportunity provisions since it resulted in superior resources for some districts at the expense of others.  The trial court dismissed plaintiffs’ claims and the appellate court affirmed, ruling that the constitution does not require substantially equal funding or educational advantages in all districts and that access to educational opportunities is not a fundamental right.


Leandro v. State of North Carolina, 346 N.C. 336, 488 S.E.2d 249 (N.C. 1997).

The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of this action, finding that “the equal opportunities clause of Article IX, Section 2 does not require substantially equal funding or educational advantages in all school districts.”  It also held that “the provisions of the current state system for funding schools which require or allow counties to help finance their school systems and result in unequal funding among the school districts of the state do not violate constitutional principles.” 346 N.C. at 349, 488 S.E.2d at 256.


Britt v. State Bd. of Educ., 86 N.C. App. 282, 357 S.E.2d 432 (N.C. Ct. App. 1987).

The North Carolina Supreme Court found in this case that the method of financing the state public schools was constitutional “since plaintiffs have not alleged that they are being denied an education, but only that they are not receiving the same educational opportunities as students in some other places in the State.”  It noted that “the State is required to provide a general and uniform education for the students in its charge” but ruled that "there is no requirement that it provide identical opportunities to each and every student."  86 N.C. App. at 289, 357 S.E.2d at 436.