Judge Dietz in Austin has ruled that the Texas school finance system is neither efficient nor constitutional. Of course, the Republican Attorney General Abbott is expected to appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.
Dietz ruled that the state had not provided adequate resources to lift students to the state’s new high standards.
“We either want increased standards and are willing to pay the price or we don’t,” Dietz said.
He also found that wide disparities had emerged school districts between school districts that are considered property poor and their wealthier peers. And he said the Legislature had effectively imposed a statewide property tax in violation of the Texas Constitution.
For the first time, charter schools joined in the school finance litigation and argued that the lack of state funding for classrooms and other school facilities is unconstitutional as is the current cap limiting the number of new charter operators. Dietz said the the Legislature has discretion over both of those issues and thus did not violate the constitution.
Here’s some reaction:
Sylvia R. Garcia, Democrat for State Senate District 6: ”I’m happy that Judge Dietz recognized in his ruling today that our public schools have been drastically underfunded, but this fight isn’t over. It’s important that we have people in the Texas Legislature standing up for public schools and our children and families, and that’s why I’m running for Texas Senate.”