San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez


The relevant lawsuit was brought by a parental association in San Antonio alleging unequal funding in the state’s school system.  In San Antonio, as in many districts, schools were funding by local property taxes, which are primarily derived from the assessment of the value of local properties.  Therefore, in lower income neighborhoods, lower property values implied lower levels of funding for the school.  The parental group, citing a wide disparity in levels of funding within the district, sued for a violation of their equal protection rights.


Whether school funding by property tax assessed values violates the equal protection clause of the constitution.


No, the law does not violate the equal protection clause and is valid.  The court argued that there is no constitutional guaranteed right to an education.  Education has always been administered and handled at the state level.  The equal protection clause does not apply to education because the constitution does not guarantee equal education for citizens; the constitution does not even guarantee education at all.

The court did not choose to utilize the strict scrutiny standard of review in this case.  Nearly every state in the country has a funding scheme similar to this one; and therefore, the funding scheme is not so irrational that it is discriminatory.  Moreover, the poor people of Texas under the law are not systematically discriminated against under this law.  The absence of a “suspect class” which justifies equal protection review in the first place requires that the court not review the case.

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