Sugar Creek Charter School, Inc., et al. v. State of N.C., et al.

Sugar Creek Charter School, Inc. et al. v. State of North Carolina, et al.


Case Status

Current Status: Closed
Date Filed: Sep 21st, 2009
Last Action: Jun 26th, 2012
Court Filed In: Superior Court (Mecklenburg County)

Case Summary

Justice Robert F. Orr (retired) and Jason Kay, attorneys affiliated with the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, filed a declaratory judgment action today on behalf of seven North Carolina public charter schools and several parents and students affiliated with those schools challenging the constitutionality of the State’s funding system for public charter schools.  The suit seeks to address inequities and discriminatory provisions of North Carolina law which disfavor public charter school students as compared to their friends and colleagues in the traditional public school system.

 

Presently, North Carolina law does not permit counties and local school administrative units to provide funds from the capital outlay fund to public charter schools.  The law does authorize these funds for traditional public schools.  Yet, the North Carolina Constitution requires that the General Assembly may only establish a uniform system of public schools.

 

 “Creating the public charter school system, without providing a uniform opportunity to those students to receive capital outlay funds from counties and local school administrative units is – even in its simplest terms – fundamentally not uniform treatment.  Public charter students should have a uniform opportunity to get the funding that traditional public schools get, plain and simple,” Orr said.

 

While the North Carolina Supreme Court held in Leandro that counties were free to supplement State funds in ways that resulted in inequitable funding for public education from county to county, this suit asks the Court to answer a fundamentally different legal question.  Here, the disparate funding scheme applies inequitably to public school students residing in the same county or local school administrative unit.  The question is whether or not the inequitable funding requirement for public charter schools is “uniform” within the meaning of the Constitution of North Carolina.

 

“This suit merely asks for a seat at the county capital funding table.  These public charter school students want equal access so they can request from their counties and school boards the same categories and levels of funding that their neighbors and friends get in the traditional public schools.  What local public officials may decide to do with those requests is not the subject of this suit.  But if the Constitution requires uniformity in the system of public education, the plaintiffs are asking if all public school students within the same county should have uniform access to funding, whether charter or traditional,” said Jason Kay, Senior Staff Attorney at NCICL.

 

The suit was filed in Mecklenburg County by Sugar Creek Charter School and several other public charter schools and their students from across the State.  Sugar Creek Charter School has recently prevailed in two cases before the North Carolina Court of Appeals in seeking to remedy the inequitable funding charter schools received from the local current expense fund.

 

Included as defendants in the lawsuit due to their status as parties that have an interest in the outcome of the declaratory judgment action are 15 governmental parties, including the State of North Carolina and the counties of Mecklenburg, Union, Rutherford, Cleveland, Nash, Edgecombe, and Halifax.  Related school boards in each county were also included.


Documents Filed

Document Title Date Filed Court Download
Court Order to Dismiss 06/26/2012 NC Court of Appeals PDF 59KB
County's Response to PDR 08/30/2011 N.C. Supreme Court PDF 201KB
State's Motion to Dismiss NOA&PDR 08/29/2011 N.C. Supreme Court PDF 603KB
School Boards' Motion to Dismiss NOA&PDR 08/29/2011 N.C. Supreme Court PDF 705KB
Notice of Appeal & Petition for Discretionary Review 08/17/2011 N.C. Supreme Court PDF 953KB
Counties' Brief 11/24/2010 N.C. Court of Appeals PDF 2.1MB
School Boards' Brief 11/24/2010 N.C. Court of Appeals PDF 2.2MB
State's Brief 11/23/2010 N.C. Court of Appeals PDF 2.7MB
Plaintiffs-Appellants' Brief 09/22/2010 N.C. Court of Appeals PDF 1.9MB
Record on Appeal 08/10/2010 N.C. Court of Appeals PDF 4.4MB
Notice of Appeal 06/22/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 96KB
Order 06/04/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 92KB
School Boards' Reply Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss 04/30/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 762KB
State's Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint 04/29/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 88KB
State's Reply Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss 04/29/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 1.4MB
School Boards' Motion to Dismiss 04/29/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 99KB
Notice of Hearing 04/29/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 91KB
First Amended Complaint 04/29/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 1.3MB
School Boards' Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint 04/29/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 99KB
Plaintiffs' Brief in Opposition to Motions to Dismiss 04/23/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 3.0MB
School Boards' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss 04/09/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 2.8MB
Counties' Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss 04/09/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 1.1MB
State's Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss 04/09/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 1.7MB
Order Designating Case as Exceptional 01/22/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 100KB
Joint Motion for Designation as Exceptional Case 01/08/2010 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 147KB
State's Motion to Dismiss 11/23/2009 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 80KB
School Boards' Motion to Dismiss 11/19/2009 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 88KB
Counties' Motion to Dismiss 11/19/2009 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 188KB
Complaint 09/21/2009 Superior Court (Mecklenburg County) PDF 1.3MB