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The Texas Supreme Court on Friday issued a ruling upholding the state’s public school funding system as constitutional, while also urging state lawmakers to implement "transformational, top-to-bottom reforms that amount to more than Band-Aid on top of Band-Aid."
But without a court order directing the Legislature to fix specific provisions in the system, school groups worry that lawmakers will either do nothing or something outside the box.
“Our Byzantine school funding ‘system’ is undeniably imperfect, with immense room for improvement. But it satisfies minimum constitutional requirements,” Justice Don Willettwrote in the court’s 100-page opinion, which asserts that the court’s “lenient standard of review in this policy-laden area counsels modesty.”
There were no dissenting opinions; Justices Eva Guzman and Jeff Boyd delivered concurring ones.
"Good enough now ... does not mean that the system is good or that it will continue to be enough," Guzman wrote. "Shortfalls in both resources and performance persist in innumerable respects, and a perilously large number of students is in danger of falling further behind."
Friday’s ruling is the second time the state’s highest civil court has upheld the state’s school finance system. Since the 1980s, school districts have repeatedly sued the state in an attempt to increase public education funding, and have often prevailed. The latest case, brought by more than two-thirds of Texas school districts, is the seventh time such a case has reached the state Supreme Court.
- Edgewood v. Kirby.
- Rodriquez v. SAISD.