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Ohio Coalition that Brought DeRolph Goes Back to Court

With Ohio Governor Bob Taft threatening to cut the education budget, the coalition of school districts that brought the long-running DeRolph v. State litigation returned to court to seek enforcement of its recent school funding litigation victory. In December 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the state's school funding system unconstitutional for the third time in the case's twelve-year history. At the same time, however, the Court ceded jurisdiction, leaving open the question of enforcement. On March 4, 2003, the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding filed a motion with the original trial court, asking the judge to rule on the state's compliance with outstanding orders. Although the Supreme Court did not send the case back to the trial court, Coalition lawyers argue that the decision will be meaningless without judicial oversight.

The state, which has 10 days to respond to the motion, did not comment on the case directly. The governor is supposed to incorporate a new funding system into the 2004-2005 budget, but a spokesman said that Taft had no choice but to cut state aid to schools this year after the legislature refused to raise taxes.

Prepared March 5, 2003