School finance litigation: district judge denies charter school claims

As mentioned earlier, last year the Texas Charter Schools Association joined the school finance litigation, challenging the lack of facilities funding for charter schools, and asking the court to lift the cap on the number of charter schools.

The trial ended yesterday, and Judge Dietz ruled from the bench, denying the charter schools’ claims. “State loses school funding case”, Lindsay Kastner, San Antonio Express-News, February 4, 2013. The judge said that the charter schools’ claims are a matter for the legislature. “Charter school students denied constitutional protections in school finance ruling”Texas Charter Schools Association news release, February 4, 2013. The judge also denied the claim of Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education (TREEE) that more competition would create greater efficiency.

Judge Dietz ruled in favor of the school districts and against the state, finding that school funding is not adequate, and that the current system creates an unconstitutional statewide property tax.

The state will appeal the district court’s ruling, and it will take a year or more to get a final outcome from the Texas Supreme Court. In the meantime, the state legislature may take action this session, or may wait for the 2015 session—after the Texas Supreme Court’s decision.

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