News Release

Southern Education Foundation backs major North Carolina court ruling on school funding

Nov. 7, 2022Contact: Alan Richard,, (202) 641-1300 

ATLANTA The Southern Education Foundation (SEF), a 155-year-old nonpartisan organization working for justice in education across the South, strongly supports the Supreme Court of North Carolina’s Nov. 4 decision in the Leandro case, clearing the way for at least $1.75 billion in additional public school funding.

SEF filed a joint amici curiae brief in the case in July, along with many other education advocacy groups in North Carolina and nationwide.

“After years of wrangling, North Carolina can finally proceed with investing an additional $1 billion or more into its public schools as required decades ago by the original ruling in the case,” said SEF President and CEO Raymond C. Pierce, a former dean of the North Carolina Central University School of Law.  

“North Carolina is one of the many states in which the public school system is failing to provide the resources to ensure all children have the educational opportunities they need,” Pierce said.

The Nov. 4 decision was specifically for additional Leandro funds for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.

After the original Leandro ruling in 2004 found the state’s school funding system unconstitutional, the state agreed to invest an additional $5.6 billion in K-12 education by 2028. Leandro funds must focus in part on support for students with disabilities and schools with high numbers of students from low-income families.

North Carolina’s efforts to provide a sound basic education for every child date to the 1868 State Constitution, which requires the General Assembly to provide “a general and uniform system of public schools … free of charge to all of the children of the State.” 

The brief filed this summer by more than 140 other education, civil rights, philanthropic, and community organizations outlined how North Carolina has fallen further below the minimum funding level required by the state constitution since 2004.

Founded in 1877 to educate Black children and children from low-income families in the South, the Southern Education Foundation continues to work for greater opportunities for all students. SEF is based in Atlanta, Georgia.