North Carolina school districts are suing state officials to collect hundreds of millions of dollars they say they're owed.

The state's constitution requires certain fines collected by state agencies to go into a fund for public schools. Lawmakers said the money had to be used for technology.

Districts weren't getting all of the money from the fund, so they sued in 1998. Ten years later, the case reached the state Supreme Court. The court sided with the schools, and the judgment was nearly $750 million.

But they've only been paid $18 million. The judgment is set to expire next week. Leanne Winner is the director of governmental relations with the N.C. School Boards Association, an organization leading the legal battle. She wants the judgment renewed.

“We talk about the need to continue to have good technology available to our students," she says. "It's not really even an option anymore, it's really a must to be successful, so paying off this judgment should be something we believe should be a priority for the state.”

Winner says the money will help struggling districts as the state continues to move towards digital textbooks and other online resources.

*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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