School Lawsuit Starts | KERA News

School Lawsuit Starts

Oct 23, 2012

Yesterday in Austin, for the sixth time in four decades, school districts were in court suing the state over education funding. Many are in North Texas. 

In the court of Judicial District Judge John Dietz, six parties laid out their case.

The Texas Tribune education reporter Morgan Smith was in the court room, and says four groups said that after the last legislature cut education funding by $5.4 billion, the districts could no longer adequately educate students. Nor could they pay for the rising student population or tougher testing standards. They want a new funding system.

On this first day of court, Smith said the judge also heard from a group representing charter schools. Smith said they argued "they’re dealing with all same inequities that the traditional school districts are dealing with except for on a larger scale, because they don’t get the facilities funding."

Smith says another party represented school choice groups with ties to voucher proponents and business interests. "Their lawyer argued the public education is a monopoly and because of that it’s inherently inefficient."

Smith says the group argued more money may not solve the education problem, because it’s more a matter of efficiently spending that money.

Smith says when it was the state’s turn, Texas rejected any blame. "The state said today if there’s inefficiency in the system, and the state does acknowledge flaws in the system, they‘re saying that comes as a result of decisions made on the local level, not the state level. So they’re saying it’s the school district’s fault we’re in the situation."

The case is expected to take weeks, could end up in the Texas Supreme Court, and may not be decided until after next year’s legislative session has ended.