Texas AFT President Linda Bridges offered this comment on today’s ruling by state district judge John Dietz on the legal challenge brought by more than 600 Texas school districts against the state system of school finance:
“Today a state district judge has said the evidence is clear: The state’s system of school funding is unconstitutional on multiple grounds. It is inadequate, providing insufficient funding to school districts to meet state achievement targets. It is inequitable, failing to distribute school aid in a manner that gives all students a fair chance to succeed regardless of local property wealth. And it leaves rich and poor districts alike with no meaningful discretion over their local tax rates as they struggle to raise the funds to try to meet state mandates.
“Today’s ruling should spur the legislature to do what it ought to be doing anyway—using the state’s resurgent revenue to restore school funding that was cut severely last session, and reforming the school-finance system to satisfy constitutional requirements. The inevitable appeal that the state’s lawyers will pursue in this case must not become an excuse for legislative inertia. The state needs to invest more in public education immediately, because the kids can’t wait.”
Texas AFT represents more than 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.5-million-member American Federation of Teachers.