San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez

411 U.S. 1 (1973)


The San Antonio School District (D) was funded by property taxes. Schools in rich neighborhoods ended up with more money per student than those in poor neighborhoods. Districts with high property taxes spent more on education than those with low taxes. Rodriguez (P) challenged this system as a violation of public education because it relied primarily on local property taxes, discriminating against poor districts. This suit was a class action on behalf of school children throughout the State who are members of minority groups or who are poor and reside in school districts having a low property tax base. The District Court to concluded that Texas' dual system of public school financing violated the Equal Protection Clause. Finding that wealth is a 'suspect' classification, and that education is a 'fundamental' interest, the District Court held that the Texas system could be sustained only if the State could show that it was premised upon some compelling state interest. On this issue, the court concluded that not only are defendants unable to demonstrate compelling state interests, they failed to establish a reasonable basis for these classifications.