Supreme Court Agrees to Hear School Finance Case

By  | 

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an ongoing dispute over how the state pays for public schools.

The decision allows the lawsuit to bypass a lower appeals court, speeding up a decision that is dominating the legislative session. State District Judge John Dietz in September ruled that the $30 billion funding system is unconstitutional. The state appealed directly to the Supreme Court.

Many districts say they do not have enough money to educate their students under the current plan, which relies heavily on local property taxes. The districts blame a local school property tax limit and say state does not provide enough money to schools.

More than 300 school districts, some property-rich and others property-poor, brought the lawsuit that challenged how Texas funds its public schools.

Dietz said the finance system is "financially inefficient, inadequate and unsuitable." He also warned that the state must stop funding public education by next fall if the constitutional violations are not fixed.

While the case is making its way through the courts, lawmakers have been working to come up with their own overhaul.

The system is nicknamed Robin Hood because it requires property wealthy district to give local revenue to the state for redistribution to other schools. While poorer districts have benefited, wealthy districts complain their are being jilted out of millions.