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Serrano v. Priest

The Supreme Court of California’s 1971 ruling in Serrano v. Priest, commonly referred to as Serrano I, represents the first major legal decision by a state Supreme Court declaring a state’s education funding system to be unconstitutional. In Serrano I, the state supreme court ruled that the state’s school funding system violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as well as the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. More specifically, the Serrano I decision recognized that a student’s right to a public education in the United States is a fundamental interest that cannot be based on wealth. The California Supreme Court found no compelling state purpose justifying the state’s spending differences between its wealthier and poorer school ...

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