Opening statements began Monday, as attorneys representing more than 1,000 school districts across Texas argued that the state’s school funding system is inequitable and unfair.
In April, state district Judge John Dietz set the Oct. 22 trial date for four coalitions, teaming up for one lawsuit against the state — the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Texas School Coalition, the Taxpayers and Student Fairness Association and the Texas Equity Center.
“With the state increasing testing standards, increasing rules and regulations, increasing curriculum requirements, and increasing college readiness requirements, school districts across the state are having to crowd classrooms and make budgetary cuts that will affect instruction to our children,” Brock superintendent Richard Tedder said. “This does not even take into account the ridiculous federal standards within the AYP system. Federal Adequate Yearly Progress reports and the Performance Based Monitoring System also costs districts thousands of dollars in order to meet compliance. About 823 school districts have passed a “Resolution Against High Stakes Testing” to send a message to our legislators that testing and accountability is fine, but we are sacrificing our children’s individuality and creativity for an excess of testing, not to mention the tremendous expense to the state our present testing system creates.”
Weatherford, Aledo, Springtown, Millsap, Brock and Peaster have all joined at least one of the coalitions, voting last year to join the financial fight, which represents more than 40 percent of Texas students.
“Everyone has to recognize that our current funding system is inequitable,” Springtown superintendent Mike Kelley said. “It’s encouraging to know that at least the process has started now.
“This is, I think, the sixth effort in the last four decades to get things changed.”
The state’s current funding system, passed down by the Texas Legislature, has remain unchanged since 2006, and district administrators have argued that much has changed since then, meaning the funding system is no longer operable.