Court Overturns Texas School Finance System

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Austin, Texas | [On August 28, 2014,] Travis County District Judge John Dietz issued a ruling declaring that the way Texas funds its public schools is unconstitutional. The head of state’s largest educator group called the ruling a victory for the more than 5 million Texas public schoolchildren.

“It’s unfortunate that school districts have to sue the State of Texas to force the Legislature to carry out its constitutional obligations,” ATPE Executive Director Gary Godsey said. “Our children’s future and the economic future of our state are at stake here. ATPE will not stop fighting until the Legislature addresses the fact that our schools do not have the funding necessary to prepare students for college and careers.”

According to data from the Texas Education Agency, Texas has fewer teachers now than it had three years ago, despite adding more than 200,000 students to the public education system.

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“It’s the Legislature’s responsibility to create a stable system for funding our schools,” Godsey said. “The time for management by crisis — placing Band-Aids on problems to buy a few years between lawsuits — has long since passed.”

It is widely expected that the state will appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.

TISD Superintendent Paul Norton stated:

The ruling from Judge Dietz is the ruling that has been anticipated since he released his original ruling in February, 2013.  I anticipate the State of Texas will appeal this ruling to the Texas State Supreme Court which will in effect put this ruling on hold.  It is great news for school districts and students to see that Judge Dietz agrees the funding for education is unconstitutional.  However, how that will impact Texarkana ISD won’t be determined for several months into the future.

PGISD Superintendent Todd Williams stated:

I think Judge Dietz got it right in regards to his ruling in the Texas school funding case. Many school districts across Texas have suffered due to the inequities in school finance and Pleasant Grove ISD is no exception. We, like most Texas districts, have had a difficult time trying to overcome the cuts made by the Texas Legislature back in 2011. I applaud Judge Dietz in this decision & hope that the Texas Legislature will do the right thing & adequately address this situation starting next January during the next legislative session. The students of the great state of Texas deserve better.

 

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