Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Friday appealed to the Texas Supreme Court a district court finding that the state’s school finance system is unconstitutional.
State District Judge John Dietz’s Aug. 30 ruling called Texas’ current school finance system inefficient and inadequate, saying it created an de facto statewide property tax in violation of state law. The decision, a reaffirmation of his 2013 ruling, was a huge victory for the 600 school districts that sued the state after $5.4 billion was stripped from the public education budget in 2011.
Abbott’s office could have appealed to a lower appellate court. But it was widely suspected he would expedite the legal process by requesting the state’s highest civil court hear the case.
Lawmakers could avoid further litigation by addressing the system’s problems in the session that begins in January, but many agree they will wait for a court ruling to take action. Education leaders and policymakers are expecting a special session next year on school finance, since the state Supreme Court is unlikely to hear and issue a decision on the case before the regular session is over in June.
See here for the last update. Abbott of course also had the option of seeking to settle the suit rather than continue to pursue appeals, for which the Texas AFT took him to task. Despite his claim in the debate that he is barred by law from seeking a settlement, he is empowered to do so as long as he gets legislative approval of any settlement he wishes to make. That he doesn’t want to settle but instead is hoping to prevail at the Supreme Court so he wouldn’t have to spend more money on education as Governor should be clear by now. It’s his choice to make, and now he’s made it. The Trib has more.