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State Supreme Court refuses to rehear state education funding case

Published: Jan. 26, 2015 at 5:17 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2015 at 5:17 PM EST
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The Supreme Court of South Carolina has refused to rehear the landmark Abbeville County School Districts vs. the State of South Carolina
case involving the "minimally adequate" education of students in the state's more rural school districts.

The court ruled 3-to-2 last year that lawmakers had to improve conditions for poor rural students because the state had violated its mandate to provide those students a proper education.

State officials, including Gov. Nikki Haley, argued the ruling was ambiguous and the court had overstepped its authority.

The state quickly filed a petition to rehear that case, but Monday's ruling denied the petition.

"After careful consideration of the petitions for rehearing, we are unable to discover that any material fact or principle of law has been either overlooked or disregarded, and hence, there is no basis for granting a rehearing," the order read.

While some disagree with the decision, there are others who are quietly celebrating the decision.

"We didn't think there was a reason to have it re-done again," attorney Laura Callaway Hart said. "And neither did the Supreme Court."

The ruling of the 21-year-old case now lays with the state legislature, who the ruling said has the responsibility of finding ways of creating a more equitable funding system for the state's school districts "within a reasonable time."

House Speaker Jay Lucas, who requested the Supreme Court to rehear the case, released a statement saying Monday's order "further confirms the dire need for comprehensive education reform."

"In light of the Court's decision to deny a rehearing, I am hopeful that the House Education Task Force will immediately begin its work to develop a robust strategy that ensures every child is given access to the best possible education in every part of our state. These five representatives from the Abbeville v. State case will provide significant insight and help create standards that put our state back on a path towards excellence."

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