What do the school finance lawsuit aguments involve that started in the Austin courtroom of District Judge Dietz, on October 22, 2012? To find out, click on the links below to access the six school finance lawsuits filed in 2011 and 2012.
Texas School Coalition Lawsuit (862.16 KB)
Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition Lawsuit (971.65 KB)
MALDEF School Finance Lawsuit (70.28 KB)
Fort Bend ISD et al School Finance Lawsuit (391.94 KB)
Efficiency Intervenors Lawsuit (113.09 KB)
Charter Schools Students and Texas Charter School Association (39.52 KB)
Updates on the Lawsuit in the Media
Larger classes mean more dropouts, economist testifies in Texas school finance trial
Dallas Morning News © November 14, 2012
Larger classes typically trigger higher dropout rates and wind up costing more in the long run with less educated workers who pay less in taxes, an expert witness in the Texas school finance trial said Wednesday. The testimony comes as school districts across the state continue to increase class sizes to make ends meet. Clive Belfield, an economist at Queens College in New York, said there are several steps school districts can take to increase their graduation rates, but most involve spending more money, and there has been resistance to funding increases in Texas and other states.
Wiggins testifies at ‘Robin Hood’ trial
The Port Lavaca Wave © November 14, 2012
A trial challenging the educational finance system in Texas has commenced and Calhoun County Independent School District Superintendent Billy Wiggins gave his testimony last Wednesday. In the case, the Texas School Coalition, comprised of 88 school districts, is challenging the constitutionality of school finance system in Texas. Wiggins, one of three school officials statewide asked to testify, said he was questioned for about half an hour and his testimony focused on several key areas....
ESL student growth cited in funding trial
San Antonio Express-News © November 13, 2012
About one of every five Texas public school children is an English-language learner, and that growing segment could soon determine the state's trajectory, a bilingual education expert testified Tuesday. From 1998 to 2008 the state's total public school enrollment increased by 17.4 percent, while the number of English-language learners grew by 38.4 percent....
Expert: Texas' bilingual ed needs have skyrocketed
Star-Telegram © November 13, 2012
Texas has seen a significant increase in the number of its public-school students considered English-language learners but is cutting funding to bilingual programs vital to ensuring they succeed, an expert told the state's sweeping school finance trial Tuesday. Delia Pompa, senior vice president of the National Council of La Raza and former executive director of the National Association for Bilingual Education, testified that from 1998 to 2008, the number of English-language learners in Texas jumped 38.4 percent. That's compared to overall enrollment growth of 17.4 percent over the same period....
Humble ISD superintendent testifies as school finance trial begins
The Tribune © November 13, 2012
The battle over education dollars in the State of Texas moved from the State Capitol to a courtroom in Austin as a trial started in lawsuits filed concering school financing in Texas. Humble ISD and approximately 600 other school districts around the state are suing the State of Texas, claiming the current system is unconstitutional....
Expert: Small Classes Key To School, Life Success
CBS DFW © November 9, 2012
An educational expert says public-school students in smaller classes tend to do better on standardized tests and even eventually become better citizens. Northwestern University economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach testified Thursday at Texas’ sweeping school finance trial....
Expert testifies on Texas' pre-K funding decline
Star-Telegram © November 6, 2012
An early childhood education expert has testified that the state now spends about $300 less per child on pre-kindergarten programs than it did a decade ago. Steven Barnett testified Tuesday at a sweeping school finance trial before state District Judge John Dietz in Austin....
Expert slams state for financing shortfalls
San Antonio Express-News © November 5, 2012
The state of Texas is not doing its job to help school districts finance new buildings, an expert witness testified Monday in an ongoing school funding trial. “A lot of the growth of new construction has been shifted to local taxpayers to an inordinate degree,” Dan Casey of Moak Casey & Associates told Judge John Dietz. “I think it results in some disparities.”
Joe Smith: Dr. Pierce Puts the Lawsuit In Simple Terms
TexasISD.com © November 2, 2012
Dr. Wayne Pierce, Executive Director of the Equity Center, showed a table indicating what would happen if all school districts statewide taxed at the maximum of $1.17. It was clearly evident that to reach the funding levels of their property-wealthy counterparts, poor school districts would have to impose tax rates of $1.95, which would be illegal. Dr. Pierce used several individual districts to make his points very clear and applicable to one’s local zip code. The following are excerpts from articles and comments made related to Dr. Pierce’s testimony will continue on Monday....
Poor districts issue higher taxes, expert says in school finance case
The Abilene Reporter-News © November 2, 2012
The poorest school districts in Texas tax at a rate that is nearly 8 percent higher than the state's wealthiest districts but receive 35 percent less in per student funding, potentially contributing to lower standardized tests scores and higher dropout rates, an expert testified Thursday during a much-watched school finance case. More than 600 public school districts that educate around three-quarters of the state's 5 million students have sued, claiming the way Texas funds its schools is so inefficient, inequitable and unfair it violates the state constitution's guarantee of a "general diffusion of knowledge."...
Equity Center: Some schools get $65,000 more per classroom
San Antonio Express-News © November 2, 2012
Property-wealthy school districts spend about $65,000 more per classroom than poor districts, Equity Center Executive Director Wayne Pierce testified Thursday in an ongoing school funding lawsuit. “You could do some wonderful things” if property-poor schools received equal funding, Pierce told Judge John Dietz, who had asked why the funding gap was a disadvantage. “You could give every child, no matter how poor they are, a laptop or an iPad to benefit their education.”...
Other Voices: Get act together on school finance
The Denton Record-Chronicle © November 1, 2012
Texas’ school-finance system has been a hot mess for years: outdated, wackily convoluted, inefficient and unfair. And last legislative season only made matters worse: $5.4 billion in budget cuts slammed schools that were already scrambling to serve ever more students with ever greater needs. How bad is the situation?
So bad that 600 school districts — about two-thirds of the districts in the state, including both rich ones and poor ones — have taken the state to court. So bad that even school-finance experts have a hard time explaining how the system works....
Expert: Poor Texas School Districts Tax More, Get Less
CBS DFW © November 1, 2012
An expert witness says the poorest school districts in Texas tax at a rate that is 7.8 percent higher than the state’s wealthiest districts but receive 35 percent less in per student funding. Equity Center Executive Director Wayne Pierce testified Thursday on behalf of 650 poor school districts who claim that the property tax system that Texas uses to pay for public schools is unfair
Expert details wide gap in Texas' per-student funding
Fort Worth Star-Telegram © November 1, 2012
The poorest school districts in Texas tax at a rate that is nearly 8 percent higher than the state's wealthiest districts but receive 35 percent less in per-student funding, potentially contributing to lower standardized test scores and higher dropout rates, an expert testified Thursday. More than 600 public school districts that educate around three-quarters of the state's 5 million students have sued the state, claiming that the way Texas funds its schools is so inefficient, inequitable and unfair that it violates the state constitution's guarantee of a "general diffusion of knowledge."...
At 2-week mark, inequity remains at center of school finance lawsuit
Your News Now YNN Time Warner Cable © November 1, 2012
On Thursday, the end of the second week of the state-wide school finance lawsuit, one word was brought up repeatedly: inequity. Throughout the day’s hearing, life-long educator and school finance expert Wayne Pierce testified that property-rich school districts across the state have better performing students, even when the tax rate is the same. Higher property values means more money coming in....
Poor Texas school districts tax at higher rate, but collect less money causing inequality
The Republic © November 1, 2012
The poorest school districts in Texas tax at a rate that is nearly 8 percent higher than the state's wealthiest districts but receive 35 percent less in per student funding, potentially contributing to lower standardized tests scores and higher dropout rates, an expert testified Thursday during a much-watched school finance case. More than 600 public school districts that educate around three-quarters of the state's 5 million students have sued, claiming that the way Texas funds its schools is so inefficient, inequitable and unfair that it violates the state constitution's guarantee of a "general diffusion of knowledge."...
Superintendents say money makes a difference
FOX 34 News © November 1, 2012
As if wrestling their budgets wasn't difficult enough, Texas school districts including Lubbock ISD, Frenship and Lubbock Cooper have a long legal road ahead to force a change in how state funding is distributed. Around 600 school districts are plaintiffs challenging the state's school finance system. They say it's broken and completely unfair....
Expert: Poor school districts tax more, get less
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal © November 1, 2012
The poorest school districts in Texas tax at a rate that is nearly 8 percent higher than the state’s wealthiest districts but receive 35 percent less in per student funding, potentially contributing to lower standardized tests scores and higher dropout rates, an expert testified Thursday during a much-watched school finance case. More than 600 public school districts that educate around three-quarters of the state’s 5 million students have sued, claiming that the way Texas funds its schools is so inefficient, inequitable and unfair that it violates the state constitution’s guarantee of a “general diffusion of knowledge.”...
Judge questions cost of education
The Aransas Pass Progress © October 31, 2012
"Testimony during the landmark Texas school finance lawsuit in Austin last week centered around the state’s growing economically disadvantaged population and how that plays into education. On Monday, a week since the start of trial at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, a Texas superintendent and Lynn Moak, who has testified at every Texas finance trial since the 1980s, were called to the witness stand. Dr. Jeri Pfeifer, superintendent of Everman ISD, resumed testimony on Monday morning and made the argument that it is expected administrators across the state will make when it is their turn—that current school funding does not allow for districts to provide a general diffusion of knowledge to its students as required by law."
Texans describe unfairness of school taxes, funding during trial
The Dallas Morning News © October 31, 2012
Taxpayers from North Texas and other parts of the state testified Wednesday that they are paying more in taxes and getting less money for their schools than residents in neighboring areas because of serious flaws in the school funding system. Testifying for hundreds of school districts who are suing the state, four taxpayers — including three local school board members — described how their districts are taxing at a higher rate and spending less on their students than nearby districts. It’s typically a difference of several hundred dollars, and schools can do little about it under current state law....
Inequities in taxes, spending per pupil detailed in Texas school finance trial
The Dallas Morning News © October 31, 2012
The plaintiffs in the Texas school finance case on Wednesday presented testimony to support their argument that property tax rates and spending per pupil differ significantly from school district to school district despite previous court orders calling for equal treatment of districts in the state’s funding system. Four witnesses from Kaufman, Hillsboro, Bryan and Belton told state District Judge John Dietz that their property tax rates are higher than in neighboring districts that are spending several hundred dollars more per student under the flawed finance system....
School board members take funding complaints to court
San Antonio Express-News © October 31, 2012
The school finance trial produced several school board members for the first time Wednesday as Judge John Dietz heard first-hand complaints about inequitable funding of Texas public education. One of the more extreme funding disparities comes in school districts south of Fort Worth, where Glen Rose ISD taxpayers get $3,299 more per student than Hillsboro ISD — though Glen Rose has a much lower tax rate....
School board members criticize state funding
Houston Chronicle © October 31, 2012
A school finance trial produced several school board members for the first time Wednesday as Judge John Dietz heard first-hand complaints about inequitable funding of Texas public education. One of the more extreme funding disparities comes in school districts south of Fort Worth where Glen Rose ISD taxpayers get $3,299 more per student than Hillsboro ISD - though Glen Rose has a much lower tax rate. A nuclear power plant in the Glen Rose school district provides considerable tax revenue because of its high-valued property. "Their kids are no better than ours. It is unfair," said Norman Baker, a minister and school board member in Hillsboro. "We just want a fair piece of the pie. I want my daughter to receive the same funds as Glen Rose."...
Expert says Texas schools need money to meet new standards
Houston Chronicle © October 31, 2012
A school funding expert testified Tuesday that inadequate state funding makes meeting the state's higher academic standards impossible. More than 600 public school districts in Texas have sued the state, claiming it does not provide enough money to meet the schools' constitutional obligation for standards, which include the new STAAR test, or State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness....
Expert: Education funds not enough to meet standards
Midland Reporter-Telegram © October 30, 2012
One of the state's top experts on Texas school finance testified Tuesday that state funding is inadequate to meet tougher standards set by lawmakers last year. Lynn Moak, a leading education analyst in Texas for nearly five decades, told state District Judge John Dietz that test results show 75 percent of Texas high school graduates are not ready for higher education. He added that Texas ranks near the bottom in fourth-grade reading and math proficiency compared with the other 10 most populous states....
Expert: Funds not enough to meet Texas' standards
Houston Chronicle © October 30, 2012
One of the state's top experts on Texas school finance testified Tuesday that state funding is inadequate to meet tougher standards set by lawmakers last year. Lynn Moak, a leading education analyst in Texas for nearly five decades, told state District Judge John Dietz that test results show 75 percent of Texas high school graduates are not ready for higher education. He added that Texas ranks near the bottom in fourth-grade reading and math proficiency compared with the other 10 most populous states. The testimony was part of a lawsuit brought by more than 600 school districts contending Texas lawmakers have failed to supply sufficient funding for public schools. Last year the Republican-controlled Legislature cut funding by $5.4 billion, after approving tougher new end of course exams in order for students to graduate....
Lawmakers weigh in on school finance trial
Your News Now YNN Time Warner Cable © October 30, 2012
As the school finance trial continues, just down the street at the State Capitol, those who will ultimately have to craft a new school finance system if it's deemed unconstitutional are quick to point out problems, or just simply sit quietly, on the issue for now. Sen. John Whitmire says he's concerned about the makeup of how lawmakers will lean in the next legislative session. "Legislature is going to have to have willpower to fix it, the problem is you have a large number of legislators that would appear they're more focused on homeschooling, charter schools, vouchers now,” he said....
New academic standards will require more education spending
San Antonio Business Journal © October 30, 2012
To achieve the high academic standards put in place by state lawmakers will require an additional $6 billion a year in spending, a school finance expert testified on Monday. Lynn Moak, an educational consultant, testified during a trial over the state’s school finance system.
Expert: Texas schools need $8 billion in extra funding per year
The River Cities Daily Tribune © October 30, 2012
Texas will need to spend at least an additional $8 billion per year to ensure its students meet the tough new academic standards imposed by state lawmakers, a top school finance expert testified Oct. 29. Lynn Moak, a leading education analyst in Texas for nearly five decades, told state District Judge John Dietz nearly half of Texas' ninth-graders — about 150,000 — aren't on track to graduate because they failed at least one of the state's new, more rigorous standardized tests, known as STAAR, last school year....
Texas schools face an $8 billion dilemma
Houston Chronicle © October 29, 2012
Texas faces a public education crisis because state lawmakers are not providing the money needed to help students meet new and more rigorous academic standards, a school funding expert testified Monday. Lynn Moak told state District Judge John Dietz that it will take more than $8 billion a year in additional money to get students on target to graduate and to meet new college and career readiness standards....
Star witness testifies in Texas school finance trial
KENS 5-TV © October 29, 2012
The star witness testified Monday in the trial over state education funding. In the case being heard at the Travis County Justice Complex, school districts across the state including Austin ISD are suing. They say the current school finance system in Texas is unfair, inadequate and unconstitutional....
Lawsuit Over School Finance Will Change System
CBS DFW © October 28, 2012
Judge John Dietz has some deceptively simple questions to answer about how Texas finances public schools in the current lawsuit. Article 7 of the Texas Constitution requires the Legislature to “make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficientsystem of public free schools.” The Travis County district judge must decide what amount of money is suitable, and how to define efficient....
Texas school finance case will move slowly toward an explosive end
Star-Telegram © October 27, 2012
The long slog through another legal challenge to Texas' system of public school finance has begun. Opening arguments were held Monday in the trial of six lawsuits combined into one case before state District Judge John Dietz in Austin. The trial is expected to last through January, and the case undoubtedly will go to the Texas Supreme Court. Lightning-fast action there could mean a final judgment by next summer. But don't get your hopes up....
Fight over school finance begins
The Alpine Avalanche © October 25, 2012
The long-awaited Texas public school finance lawsuit went to trial at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin on Monday and is expected to continue through January. The session began with opening arguments from the attorneys representing the six lawsuits related to school finance. Though each lawsuit makes different arguments, they all claim that the current school finance system is unconstitutional because it does not provide an efficient way of offering all students a “general diffusion of knowledge” as required by law....
Richardson ISD superintendent testifies about harmful effects of funding cuts during Texas school finance trial
The Dallas Morning News © October 24, 2012
The Richardson school district was held up in state court Wednesday as a prime example of a successful district that has been severely harmed by funding cuts approved by the Legislature and a new testing program that showed only a fraction of students are on track for college. Testifying on the third day of the Texas school finance trial, Richardson Superintendent Kay Waggoner told a state judge that a big reduction in funding forced the district to increase class sizes at 39 of 41 elementary campuses this year despite a student enrollment that is increasingly from lower-income families and harder to educate....
Trial under way in school funding lawsuits
The Lufkin News © October 24, 2012
Travis County District Judge John Dietz this week began hearing arguments in four school finance lawsuits filed against the state of Texas. The Texas School Coalition lawsuit is seeking adequate funding for all of the state’s schools. Mark Trachtenberg and John Turner, attorneys with Haynes and Boone, LLP, represent the 88 school districts in the lawsuit. They are challenging the constitutionality of the state school finance system, according to a press release from the coalition....
Texas needs to get its act together on school finance
Houston Chronicle © October 24, 2012
Texas' school-finance system has been a hot mess for years: outdated, wackily convoluted, inefficient and unfair. And last legislative season only made matters worse: $5.4 billion in budget cuts slammed schools that were already scrambling to serve ever more students with ever greater needs. How bad is the situation? So bad that 600 school districts - about two-thirds of the districts in the state, including both rich ones and poor ones - have taken the state to court....
Fix it: School lawsuit highlights our sad state of affairs
The Longview News-Journal © October 24, 2012
We’ve pointed out many times how poorly the Legislature performed in its last session — especially when it came to funding our public schools. Of course, that is a political opinion. Others will argue the Legislature did the right thing by slashing $5.4 billion from school funding as part of its efforts to avoid a tax increase. But now, more than 600 school districts are in court asking a state district judge to declare the Legislature’s actions are not just poor performance, but are unconstitutional. That raises the situation to another level....
Demographer warns of increasing education costs as Latino population rises
Austin American Statesman © October 23, 2012
Investing in education for Hispanic children is essential to Texas’ economic future, the former state demographer testified on Tuesday in the ongoing school finance trial. “Education pays,” said Rice University professor Steve Murdock, who also served as director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “Our future … is increasingly tied to minority populations, and how well they do is how well Texas and, in turn, America will do.”
Editorial: Schools have strong funding case
The Dallas Morning News © October 23, 2012
The state’s latest school finance lawsuit is only into its first week of hearings, but this much already is clear: Poor and wealthy districts aren’t fighting each other. They are united in protesting that lawmakers aren’t adequately funding Texas schools. It is not often that you see rich and poor districts partnering in a school finance case….
Texas public schools require more funding to serve Hispanics, expert testifies in finance trial
The Dallas Morning News © October 23, 2012
A rapidly growing Hispanic enrollment will require the state and school districts to spend more money because so many of the students come from poor families, a population expert testified Tuesday. Former state demographer Steve Murdock, the first witness called in the Texas school finance trial, said that while white enrollment in schools is down 10.2 percent over the last decade, the Hispanic student population is up 50.3 percent. Hispanics now make up nearly 53 percent of children in the state’s schools….
First witness testifies in massive school finance trial
KVUE.com © October 23, 2012
The first witness testifed on Tuesday morning on behalf of the coalition of school districts who are suing the State of Texas over the school finance system. Demographer Dr. Steve Murdock is an expert in population growth and talked about the changing face of Texas Tuesday morning….
Texas school finance trial kicks off
Austin American Statesman © October 23, 2012
Opening statements in Texas’ mammoth school finance litigation Monday sketched the broad outlines for a three-month trial that has the potential to alter the landscape of public education across the state….
School Districts, State Trade Blame at Finance Trial
The Texas Tribune © October 22, 2012
After a morning where school district lawyers attacked Texas for underfunding public schools and its “hopelessly broken” finance system, an attorney for the state shot back, saying that decisions made at the local level — not the state — were to blame for school districts’ failures….
Texas Schools Head to Court in Finance Lawsuit
KUT News © October 22, 2012
Opening arguments begin today in a school finance lawsuit pitting about 600 school districts, including the Austin Independent School District, against the State of Texas. The legal battle could reshape how money is distributed to classrooms….
Attorney: Texas school funding 'hopelessly broken'
The Brownsville Herald © October 22, 2012
Attorneys for hundreds of school districts told a judge Monday that Texas' system for funding public schools is "hopelessly broken" and could eventually cost the state billions of dollars in lost tax revenues….
Testimony begins in school funding suit
Amarillo Globe News © October 22, 2012
Like more than half of the school districts in the state, two Amarillo parents sued the state because Amarillo Independent School District is not giving their children the quality of education students in better-funded districts get….
600 Texas school districts take funding complaints to court
Houston Chronicle © October 21, 2012
When Texas broke away from Mexico in 1836, its declaration of independence cited disenchantment with a meager public education system - a theme that resonates still today. Some 600 school districts will begin airing their concerns Monday in an Austin courtroom, questioning the fairness and adequacy of the way the state funds them, particularly in light of rising academic standards….
School financing suit heads to court
San Antonio Express News © October 21, 2012
When Texas broke away from Mexico in 1836, its declaration of independence cited disenchantment with a meager public education system that is under attack again — this time by some 600 school districts whose grievances will go before a state district judge here on Monday….
Education funding lawsuit: Sides ready for opening court salvo
Amarillo Globe News © October 20, 2012
After more than a year in the works, the legal tussle between the state and more than half of all Texas school districts — including more than 100 in West Texas — begins in an Austin courtroom Monday….