Nearly three years after lawyers for South Carolina's rural school districts and lawyers for the state faced off before the state Supreme Court, educators, legislators and the public are still awaiting the justices' decision on an education funding lawsuit that dates to 1993.
The justices could decide whether legislators must do more to help rural districts hire top-notch teachers, fix dilapidated school buildings and stock classrooms, or that state funding already sufficiently supplies students access to a "minimally adequate education," the constitutional standard set by the state's high court in a 1999 ruling that sent the case to trial.
As a third option, the justices could simply uphold a December 2005 lower court order, which gave a partial victory to both sides. There is no deadline on a decision.
"I just wonder if they'll ever rule," said Tom Truitt, retired former superintendent of Florence District 1, one of 40 districts to initially sue. "I really would like for them to say something, even if it's to say we're not going to rule, because it's just left hanging there."
He notes much has changed since 2005 - from the Great Recession to a state law that further complicated school funding.