Leandro case will be heard in August by NC Supreme Court

The N.C. Supreme Court is shown in this photo from the N.C. Judicial Branch

RALEIGH — The N.C. Supreme Court has signaled it will begin hearing oral arguments in the long-running Leandro case beginning on August 29.  

According to the order issued on June 1 by Associate Justice Sam Ervin IV, initial briefs need to be filed by July 1 and final briefs will be due by Aug. 12. 

The order grants parties in the case the ability to challenge Superior Special Court Judge Michael Robinson’s April 26 ruling. Robinson had heard from both sides in the case and had considered monies allocated in the most recently enacted state budget. 

In the end, Robinson said the state only still owed $785 million of the proposed $8.29 billion Comprehensive Remedial Plan drawn up by WestEd, the company based out of California picked to create the plan. In his ruling, Robinson did not lay out how the funds should eventually be transferred, leaving that question open for the Supreme Court to answer. 

Robinson was assigned the case in March of this year by Chief Justice Paul Newby.  

Last fall, Robinson’s predecessor, Superior Court Judge David Lee, ordered the heads of the Office of the State Budget and Management, the Office of the State Comptroller, and the Office of the State Treasurer to go around the legislature and transfer $1.7 billion from the state’s coffers to three education entities in the state. 

Department of Public Instruction was to receive over $1.522 million, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services would have gotten $189.8 million, and the UNC System was to get $41.3 million.  

Lee’s transfer order, however, was blocked by an N.C. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 30, 2021.