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30 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1341 (2002-2003)
From Equity to Adequacy' The Legal Battle for Increased State Funding of Poor School Districts in New York

handle is hein.journals/frdurb30 and id is 1383 raw text is: FROM EQUITY TO ADEQUACY:
THE LEGAL BATTLE FOR INCREASED STATE
FUNDING OF POOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS
IN NEW YORK
Brian J. Nickerson*
and Gerard M. Deenihan**
INTRODUCTION
Lawsuits challenging New York State's public elementary and
secondary school funding formulas have followed, in several re-
spects, the school finance litigation trends in other state and federal
courts. The most notable linkage lies with New York plaintiffs' in-
corporation of doctrinal developments from successful litigation at-
tacking public school funding systems in other states. As this
Article demonstrates, the first New York school finance case,
Board of Education, Levittown Union Free District v. Nyquist1
(Levittown) commenced after victorious public school funding
cases in California, Serrano v. Priest,2 and New Jersey, Robinson v.
Cahill.3
The Serrano and Robinson cases provided a useful litigation
blueprint for raising legal challenges to state public elementary and
secondary school funding systems based largely upon equity
principles and arguments.4 Equity-based challenges in school fi-
nance litigation rely primarily upon state constitutional equality or
equal protection provisions.5 The most typical equity argument
raised by plaintiffs is that a state public school funding system,
* Director, The Edwin G. Michaelian Institute for Public Policy and Manage-
ment; Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, Dyson Col-
lege of Arts and Sciences, Pace University; J.D., Pace University; Ph.D., Suny-
Albany.
** Research Associate, The Edwin G. Michaelian Institute of Public Policy and
Management, Pace University; J.D. candidate, Fordham University School of Law,
2003; M.A., Fordham University, 2001.
1. See generally 439 N.E.2d 359 (N.Y. 1982).
2. 487 P.2d 1241, 1266 (Cal. 1971).
3. 303 A.2d 273, 298 (N.J. 1973).
4. See Serrano, 487 P.2d at 1252 (discussing plaintiff's argument that there is a
correlation between a district's per pupil assessed valuation and the wealth of its re-
sidents); see also Robinson, 303 A.2d at 291-93 (discussing state statutes' creation of
an equitable school system).
5. Serrano, 487 P.2d at 1249-55; Robinson, 303 A.2d at 288-98.

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