At last, school finance lawsuit number 4

The fourth and presumably final school finance lawsuit was filed just before the holiday weekend.

The state’s largest school districts, including Houston and Cypress-Fairbanks, have filed a lawsuit claiming the public education system is inadequate and inequitable, the fourth such suit filed since the Legislature ended its session in September.

The latest suit involves more than 60 school districts and nearly 1.6 million students. More than 500 Texas school districts representing about 3.3 million children now are involved in school funding litigation against the state.

“We wish litigation weren’t necessary, but the nature of school finance just seems to be that you have this back-and-forth dialogue going on between the legislative branch and the judicial branch,” said Houston-based attorney David Thompson, lead lawyer in the large school-districts lawsuit. “It seems like a judicial decision seems to be a necessary spur to legislative action.”


Each of the four school finance lawsuits claims the state is not adequately funding education, particularly when the student enrollment grows by about 85,000 children per year. Most of the enrollment growth is made up of low income children, who cost more to educate.

“The big concern across the state is the massive cuts to public education at the very same time we’re facing the highest standards in the history of the state of Texas,” said Thompson, a former general counsel for the Texas Education Agency.

So now it’s up to the courts. The four suits are almost certain to be consolidated, and they’re likely to begin next fall, with a ruling possible before or during the 2013 legislative session. Matters won’t be settled till the Supreme Court rules, of course, but we ought to have a pretty good idea of what’s at stake by then. Let’s hope for the best.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Legal matters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.