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San Antonio Independent School District v. Demetrio P. Rodriguez et al

San Antonio Independent School District v. Demetrio P. Rodriguez et al

411 US 1 (1973) United States Supreme Court

Keywords - Nationality, accessibility, racial discimination, narrow approach to equal protection, USA, constitutional law, financing education.
A class action brought on behalf of children residing in a school district having a low property tax base, 98% of whom were Mexican-American.

The applicants challenged the state of Texas’ reliance on local property taxes to finance schools, saying it did not accord equal protection of the law to all children as required by the 14th Amendment of the United States’ Constitution.

The court concluded that the regime was constitutional. The financing system assured basic education for every child in the state, permitted and encouraged participation in and significant control of each district's schools at the local level, and had a rational relationship to a legitimate state purpose. The Court found the evidence regarding who was being discriminated against and of the discrimination itself vague.

 Note. See the section of the website on preparing a case – it is important to ensure accurate monitoring and gathering of evidence especially when alleging discrimination. 

The case indicates a narrow approach to the interpretation of equal protection – as all children had access to a basic education, (despite there being disparity in the level of education received) the Court was not prepared to apply strict scrutiny to the funding mechanism.

See the cases on budget interfering and specifically the cases in which the courts had to consider whether to interfere with how the State spent money where the basic rights were fulfilled. E.g. Guingona, JR v Carague and R v. East Sussex County Council ex parte Tandy.