Property-Poor Texas Schools File 3rd Lawsuit Challenging School Funding Plan

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A group of schools filed the third lawsuit against the state over school funding Tuesday, alleging that the system of paying for public education is inequitable for all students and inadequate for those who are low-income or still learning English.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed the lawsuit in Travis County on behalf of four property-poor school districts and three parents. Local property taxes make up more than half of the money that goes to public schools in Texas.

"We're asking the court to level up the low-wealth districts, we're not asking them to level down property-wealthy districts," said MALDEF attorney David Hinojosa. "We're also asking them to adequately fund the education for English language learners and low-income students."

Among the complaints, the lawsuit claims that a state funding allotment for bilingual programs to allow for such additional costs as student evaluation, teacher training and equipment was arbitrarily set in 1984 and falls far short of its purpose.

The plaintiffs also allege that many property-poor districts must tax at the maximum possible rate just to meet minimum state requirements.

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