|On February 4, Judge John K. Dietz, of the District Court 250, ruled that Texas public school funding is unfair, inefficient and, ultimately, unconstitutional. The ruling favored school districts, who sued the state last year regarding a $5.4 billion cut to public education funding passed in 2011.
Dietz decided that the way in which public schools are funded must be changed by the Legislature. He pointed to the disparity between increased standards for the schools set by the Legislature accompanied by a decrease in funding. However, the state is expected to appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, so the Legislature will likely wait for that decision before tackling the issue.
The lawsuit sets a record as the largest school finance case in Texas; 600 districts, representing three-quarters of the state's students, were involved in this suit against the Texas Education Agency. The trial began on Oct. 22, 2012 and took 240 hours in court. There have been six comparable cases since 1984. In 2005, Judge Dietz issued a similar ruling, directing the Legislature to change the school funding system.
Following the ruling, several school superintendents voiced their support. David Belding, the Millsap superintendent, stated,
|| "For the judge to rule that the finance system is inequitable and inefficient, inadequate and unsuitable, and a statewide de facto property tax, is a very strong judgment."