Cumming v. Richmond County Board of Education

175 U.S. 528 Supreme Court 1899
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The Richmond County Board of Education in Georgia argued that closing the only public high school for Black students was justified because of limited funds. They argued that Black students could attend the local private schools, leaving taxpayer funds to support the public high school for white students.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that this did not violate the Fourteenth amendment and that states were free to prioritize funding for education as they saw fit, even if it left Black students without a public high school.

It was not until Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 that the precedent underpinning this decision, “separate but equal,” was overturned.

De facto segregation of schools still exists today. According to EdBuild’s research, "racially concentrated non-White school districts receive, on average, $2,226 less in funding per student per year than predominantly White school districts, which represents a $23 billion funding gap per year throughout the United States."

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