School Finance Ruling

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A state Judge's ruling leaves Texas lawmakers with about one year to fix the state's school funding crisis.

Judge John Dietz ruled on Wednesday that the current finance system is unconstitutional.
The ruling confirmed what many say they knew all along- the current school finance system isn't working.

"That was really what we anticipated, all of us in the legislature," said Fred Brown, District 14 State Representative.

The judge ruled in favor of more than 300 school districts who oppose the current "share the wealth" or "robin hood" method. College Station was one of those districts.

"When you talk about the dollars that have flown out of this system in the last three years under that scheme, it has had an impact on us. It has caused us to reduce some programs, its caused us to reduce staff." said College Station ISD Superintendent Steve Johnson.

Over $7 million of the College Station school district's budget was set aside to give to Bryan this year. Both cities have the maximum property tax of $1.50 and say they're eager to hear a solution.

"We're hoping for more equalized funding, but also to be able to come up with that in a timely fashion," said Amy Drozd, Bryan ISD's Chief Financial Officer.

Governor Rick Perry could call a special session this year. If not, legislators will meet in January. State Representative Fred Brown says he's ready to tackle the problem.

"Whatever the outcome is, we're ready to go back and find a way to settle this. We want there to be equitable school finance for all the children of Texas," said Brown.

Brown says many ideas for funding will be addressed and we may even see another form of the failed sin tax measure.

"We really feel like we're going to come up with an answer. We have to come up with an answer," said Brown.

Both school districts agree that the Judge's ruling is only the first step in the long process of school finance reform. And the children are depending on a permanent solution.