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More filings in the Leandro case

Since December 2021, more filings have been submitted by various parties in North Carolina’s long-running Leandro case.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals blocked the transfer of about $1.7 billion in late 2021 that had been ordered by Judge David Lee to help the state get in compliance with its constitutional obligation to public education. A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that while Lee might be right to say the funds are needed, it is not within his power to order money be appropriated.

The plaintiffs in the case appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Higgins Benjamin attorney Robert Hunter, representing State Controller Linda Combs, filed a motion to dismiss that appeal. Read Combs’ motion here.

In addition, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ appeal. They also filed a response to plaintiffs’ request for review of the Court of Appeals decision by the Supreme Court. They are represented by Matthew Tilley of Womble Bond Dickinson.

Read the motion to dismiss here. Read the response to plaintiffs’ request here.

Meanwhile, Melanie Dubis of Parker Poe, representing the plaintiffs, has filed a response to Berger and Moore’s motion to dismiss, as well as to Combs’ motion to dismiss.

Read the response to Berger and Moore here. Read the response to Combs here.

The Leandro case started in 1994 when families from five low-wealth counties sued the state. Decisions in the case found and upheld a state constitutional right to access to a sound, basic education. For more history of the case, go here.

Procedurally, the case is complicated. To stay up to date on new filings, you can go to the state Supreme Court website. From there, scroll down to the eFiling and Document Library. There, type in the case number: 425A21. That will bring up all the filings in the Supreme Court, though note it takes some time for these to make it online. For example, the plaintiffs filings referenced above aren’t on there yet.

For all of the filings in the Court of Appeals, go to the eFiling and Document Library and type in the court of appeals case number: P21-511.

Alex Granados

Alex Granados is senior reporter for EducationNC.