North Carolina’s top court is considering whether county officials should share some of the blame if schools are so underfunded that children aren’t getting a good shot at a sound, basic education.

The state Supreme Court on Monday heard a lawsuit seeking to improve funding in a poor, rural county with three racially segregated school districts.

Parents and students in Halifax County sued the county commissioners, arguing they haven’t fairly distributed local sales tax money they control.

Lawyers for the county say if school board officials think they’re getting short-shrift in county money, it’s up to them and not students to sue.

A lower appeals court ruled county officials aren’t responsible and students should take their complaints to legislators and the governor.