South Carolina’s highest court credited state lawmakers with taking some actions to benefit rural schools, but said it will oversee a legal case that required the action for another year.
In an order Tuesday, the state Supreme Court responded to a request from state legislators to dismiss a lawsuit against them. The issue stems from the court’s 2014 ruling that South Carolina was not meeting its constitutional obligation to educate children and ordered lawmakers to come up with potential solutions. Attorneys representing House Speaker Jay Lucas and Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman had said the legislature took steps the past two sessions, including changes in state funding and studies into the root cause the disparity.
School districts involved in the lawsuit say legislators have not done enough beyond talking about issues. But the justices called those arguments “unnecessary and unfounded.”
It did order legislators to submit a report of their actions by next June, along with another report from the low-income, rural school districts involved in the lawsuit.
Four of the five Supreme Court justices signed the order, with Justice John Cannon Few (who was not on the court at the time of the 2014 ruling) abstaining.