Lawyer who challenged Vermont school funding dies

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Robert Gensburg, a lawyer who successfully challenged the way schools are funded in Vermont and brought about sweeping reform, has died. He was 78.

The Guibord Funeral Home says Gensburg died of natural causes at his Lyndon home on Nov. 9.

Gensburg was the lead attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union as they argued that children in poor towns were at a disadvantage because lower property values meant less tax revenue for schools.

In 1997, the Vermont Supreme Court agreed, forcing lawmakers to establish a new system to ensure more equitable funding.

Carol Brigham, whose young daughter was the lead plaintiff in the case, tells the Burlington Free Press it was miraculous that Gensburg put as much time into the case as he did, considering he wasn’t being paid.