Travis County District Judge John Dietz has reopened the State’s school financing case in light of recent legislation that restored some of the funding taken away from school districts in 2011.
“The passage of the wealth of bills during this 83rd legislature has created a situation where in the interest we need to assay and concentrate as to whether that legislation changed the circumstances,” Dietz said.
Judge Dietz ruled that this would be a new trial and not a continuation of the same court case in which he ruled the Texas school finance system to be unconstitutional. The lawyer representing over 400 school districts in the case, attorney Rick Gray, says yes the legislature made some steps to funding Texas schools, but they were small steps.
“They cut 5.4-billion, [then] they put 3.5-billion back not counting additional growth,” Gray said. “So we’re still from a funding level way short from where we were back in 2009, 2010 or 2011."
Gray says another major issue the court will need to address is the disparity in the amount money divided up between school districts. Attorneys have until July 17th to enter a plea in the case and come up with a chart of the bills that passed during the 83rd Legislative Session and that impacts current school financing. The trial is set to begin January 6th, 2014.