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Court Can End Neglect of Millions of School Children


Texas Supreme Court School Finance Hearing Set for Tuesday

August 31, 2015

Tomorrow, September 1, the Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the largest school finance case in the state’s history, Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition vs. Williams. The hearing comes 369 days after the Texas District Court ruled that the state’s funding system is “constitutionally inadequate, unsuitable and financially inefficient.” Much is at stake as the court decides whether or not to ensure that the state provides equal educational opportunity not for just some, but for all, of its children.

The hearing will begin at 9:00 and is expected to run most of the morning. The hearing will be streamed live.

MALDEF’s Interim Regional Counsel Marisa Bono will be presenting argument for the Edgewood ISD Plaintiffs. IDRA provided expert analysis and testimony in the trial finding that the system is inequitable and fails to provide adequate levels of funding for educating English language learners and low-income students.

A number of amicus briefs have been filed, including one by the national Education Law Center (ELC) along with several Texas organizations in support of low-income and English language learner students urging the court to affirm the trial court’s ruling. Joining ELC on the amicus brief were the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Mexican American School Board Members Association (MASBA), San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Texas Appleseed, Texas Association for Bilingual Education, Texas HOPE, and Texas NAACP. See an overview of the brief and link to the full text

The ELC amicus briefs and other briefs are available on the court’s website. 

IDRA has created a dashboard to collect news about the Texas school finance trial for easy access for parents, school folk & communities. You can see the latest news stories, live tweets, images, etc.

Al Kauffman’s op-ed for the San Antonio Express-News was published yesterday, “Texas Supreme Court has opportunity to improve public education: Constitution requires – and our students deserve – equality.” He is professor of law at St. Mary’s University School of Law and the former MALDEF lead counsel for the Edgewood parties in the school finance lawsuit from 1984 to 2002. 

Investing in education means funding our public schools for excellence. Texas must provide equal educational opportunity not for just some – but for all of its children.

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Resources for the Texas School Funding Trial


We have some resources online that you are welcome to share during this next week to help keep the issue of school finance equity visible and active.

New Classnotes Podcast episode, “Key Issues in the Texas School Funding Trial,” with David Hinojosa, J.D., IDRA National Director of Policy, who prior to joining IDRA was MALDEF’s lead counsel in the current Texas school finance case.

Infographic on the Texas School Funding Equity Gap – In light of Judge Dietz’s ruling yesterday, see IDRA’s updated graphic showing how some children are considered more valuable than others in Texas. 

Statement: Court Rules Again: Texas School Funding Must Serve All Students Equitably, August 28, 2014. 

List of the 50 Most Memorable Quotes in School Finance, compiled by IDRA’s founder, Dr. José A. Cárdenas, in 1994.