Battle for school funding could continue in 2015

Published: Dec. 8, 2014 at 10:59 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2014 at 11:00 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A dispute that last spanned for more than two decades could continue into the New Year.

The epic legal battle to change the way South Carolina provides funding for school districts has been fought by some of the state's most influential attorneys. It seemed that the lawsuit was finally decided by a divided state Supreme Court almost a month ago.

However, with a re-hearing possibly on the horizon, attorney Carl Epps says it's disappointing.

"I had hoped after the 21 years of litigating this case and getting a final decision in November of this year that everybody would embrace the decision," Epps said. "As Justice Toal said, there were no losers in the case and the state of South Carolina was the beneficiary."

Epps says he's basing his reaction on what he's been told by an attorney for the General Assembly.

In its ruling, the court majority cited what is called a "constitutional deficiency" that has denied thousands of children a chance to succeed.

The court also faulted the districts themselves saying their actions helped create "devastating metrics and outcomes."

While the court didn't provide a specific plan for reform, Epps says it is also not clear why legislative leaders would pursue the fight even further as the motion will cause more delays.

"Their deadline to file a motion is December 30th," Epps said. "That puts us back what about six weeks from the decision. And then we'll of course have to respond to that. I'm assuming there will be a hearing."

At this point, no motion for reconsideration has been filed and attorney Bobby Stepp has not been available for comment.

Meanwhile, Epps and others hope that the issue will be resolved fairly quickly if the Supreme Court has to deal with it again.

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