Lawmakers, Attorneys Poised for School Funding Debate

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Attorneys for the state and school districts have wrapped up arguments before the Texas Supreme Court over how Texas pays for public education.

Justices aren't expected to rule for several weeks or months after hearing the arguments today.

Attorneys for the state appealed to the court to overturn a ruling contending that the state's public school finance system is constitutionally flawed. State Solicitor General Ted Cruz told justices today that the system meets the state constitutional requirement of providing equal educational opportunities.

But attorneys for more than 300 school districts disputed the contention. One plaintiffs' attorney, Buck Wood, asked if the state
is meeting its burden to educate its children evenhandedly when more than 30 percent of fail to graduate from high school.

State District Judge John Dietz ruled last year in Austin the system is "financially inefficient, inadequate and unsuitable."

The state contends the present system meets constitutional requirements and that the burden to change the system lies with the
Legislature, not the courts.

The all-Republican Texas Supreme Court could take weeks or months to make its decision.