63 School Districts File Fourth Suit Against Texas | KERA News

63 School Districts File Fourth Suit Against Texas

A coalition of school districts educating more than 1.5 million Texas children has filed a fourth lawsuit against the state over school funding.

Filed Thursday in Austin, the suit alleges the current system doesn't provide enough money for schools and distributes funds unfairly.

Thompson & Horton, the Houston-based law firm handling the suit, says the proceeding was brought by 63 public school districts and has the financial backing of two more, collectively representing about a third of the state's public school enrollment.

The suit is the fourth of its kind since the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from education funding when devising the state's two-year budget this summer. In all, more than 500 Texas school districts representing about 3.3 million children are now suing the state.

Associated Press

Judge rules Stanford competent to stand trial

A judge says jailed Texas financier R. Allen Stanford is mentally competent to stand trial.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner announced his ruling Thursday after a nearly three-day competency hearing in Houston federal court for the disgraced financier.

Stanford is accused of bilking investors out of $7 billion in a massive Ponzi scheme. His trial is set for Jan. 23

Stanford had been declared incompetent in January due to an anti-anxiety drug addiction he developed while jailed in Houston and was treated for eight months at a federal prison hospital in North Carolina.

Prison hospital officials said Stanford is competent for trial. However, medical experts who testified for Stanford said a brain injury the financier suffered in a jail fight has left him unable to aid his own defense.

Associated Press

Judge allows AMR to continue plane purchases

A bankruptcy judge says that the parent of American Airlines can go ahead with its previously scheduled deliveries of Boeing aircraft next year.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane ruled Thursday that AMR Corporation can continue the process of purchasing 32 Boeing planes. The ruling allows the company to continue renewing its fleet even though it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 29th.

Fort Worth-based American has also won approval to get out of leases for two dozen aging aircraft. None of the planes are currently in service. AMR says it no longer makes financial sense to keep the planes.

An attorney for AMR also told the judge that there has been no noticeable decline in passengers since the filing.

Associated Press

Group appeals religious school suit to high court

 A Dallas-area religious group has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court a ruling that gives legal immunity to educators who stopped students from handing out religious items in schools.

A federal appeals court in September ruled that two elementary school principals in Plano are immune from liability for their actions in late 2003. The Plano-based Liberty Institute filed an appeal Thursday.

Four families sued in 2004, claiming their youngsters were banned from giving away pencils saying "Jesus is the reason for the season" and candy canes with cards describing their Christian origin.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Lynn Swanson and Jackie Bomchill had qualified immunity from facing court damages. But the court ruled that the principals may have violated the children's free-speech rights.

Associated Press

North Texas dad charged in toddler son's death

Police have arrested a suburban Dallas man on a capital murder charge in the death of his 22-month-old son.

Jacky Scott Garrett of Frisco was charged Thursday in the Oct. 11 death of his son, Logan.

Frisco police Sgt. Bradley Merritt said the incident stemmed from the father and son playing while the mother was out of town. The arrest affidavit says Garrett told police he "knocked the wind out of Logan" while they were wrestling.

Autopsy results revealed that the child died from blunt force trauma to his stomach.

Merritt said Garrett remains in the city jail Thursday with bond set at $75,000, and that the investigation is ongoing.

Jail records list no attorney for the 40-year-old suspect.

Associated Press

Romney welcomes Bush 41's unofficial endorsement

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he appreciates getting a boost from a personal hero, former President George H.W. Bush.

When asked which Republican presidential candidate he supports, Bush told his hometown newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, that Romney is the best choice. That casts aside Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who led the GOP field in early fall.

Bush said he likes Perry but he seems to have lost momentum.

While campaigning in New Hampshire, Romney thanked Bush and said his backing means a lot to him personally. He said the 41st president is a hero to him.

In an item posted on the paper's website Thursday, Bush said he supports Romney because of his "stability, experience and principles."

Romney visited Bush in Houston earlier this month.

Associated Press