Houston Matters

Is the Way Texas Funds Public Schools Unconstitutional?

Last week, (Tuesday 9/1/15), the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments over whether the way the state funds public schools is constitutional. The case dates back to 2011, when the Texas Legislature cut more than $5 billion from public education in Texas. Some 600 school districts challenged the funding system. A state district court judge […]

Last week, (Tuesday 9/1/15), the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments over whether the way the state funds public schools is constitutional. The case dates back to 2011, when the Texas Legislature cut more than $5 billion from public education in Texas. Some 600 school districts challenged the funding system. A state district court judge agreed in 2013, not long after lawmakers restored a portion of the funding. Now the Texas Supreme Court is considering whether, as State District Judge John Dietz ruled, the system inequitably creates a de facto state property tax and violates state law.

We discuss what was argued before the Texas Supreme Court last week, and what’s at stake, with Kiah Collier, a reporter with the Texas Tribune.

Then, we hear the thoughts of State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock of Killeen, the current Chair of the House Committee on Public Education, who withdrew an overhaul to education funding last session, and David Hinojosa, the Intercultural Development Research Association’s National Director of Policy, and the lead litigator in one of the Texas public school lawsuits consolidated into the case heard last week. We spoke with each of them back in May of 2015.

MORE: Why Did School Finance Reform Fail This Legislative Session? (Houston Matters, May 22, 2015)

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