Lawsuit Challenges School Funding Cuts
Texas school districts are headed back to court in another effort to get more equitable funding for public schools. A coalition representing more than 150 independent public school districts, taxpayers and parents has filed a lawsuit against the state. All six school districts in Angelina County are in this coalition.
They claim the state’s public school finance system is unconstitutional because it does not treat Texas taxpayers and school children fairly.
Texas public school funding has been a bitterly contentious issue for decades. The legislature has tried to fix unequal and inequitable funding a number of times, and six lawsuits have been filed against their efforts, all to no avail.
The lawsuit filed this week accuses state lawmakers of turning a blind eye to the state’s troubled school financing system for years, and exacerbating the flaws this year when they cut public school spending by more than $4 billion to close a massive budget gap.
The schools claim the state has taken an “arbitrary hodge-podge” approach to public funding for schools that has resulted in significant inequities among districts.The lawsuit was filed by the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition, which represents more than 150 of Texas’ more than 1,100 school districts.
Its members include a wide range of school districts in rural areas, middle class suburbs and poorer cities such as San Antonio. The Nacogdoches ISD is one of the seven listed plaintiffs, which represent all the districts in the coalition.
The lawsuit is vague on precisely what the plaintiffs want the court to do. They’re asking the court to rule the current school funding system unconstitutional, and order the state legislature to produce a system that IS constitutional.