Judge Thomas W. Cooper, Jr. ruled Thursday that the state's system of funding education does not provide students in several rural school districts with the opportunity to receive a minimally adequate education because it does not sufficiently fund early childhood education. Judge Cooper also ruled that facilities in the eight rural districts are "safe and adequate" and that curriculum standards and the system of teacher certification are adequate.
If the ruling stands, the General Assembly will have to find a way to provide free preschool to at-risk students as young as three years old. However, the ruling does not require districts to fix dilapidated school buildings or raise teacher pay, as many had hoped.
From what I hear from the parties, an appeal is a certainty. A copy of Judge Cooper's Order can be found here.
The State Newspaper has this article.
The Charlotte Observer has this article.