Judge reaffirms Texas' 'Robin Hood' system of school funding unconstitutional
AUSTIN — A judge declared Texas' school finance system unconstitutional for a second time on Thursday, finding that even though the Legislature pumped an extra $3 billion-plus into classrooms last summer, the state still fails to provide adequate funding or distribute it fairly among wealthy and poor areas.
State District Judge John Dietz's written ruling reaffirms a verbal decision he issued in February 2013. He found then that the state's so-called “Robin Hood” funding formula fails to meet the Texas Constitution's requirements for a fair and efficient system that provides a “general diffusion of knowledge.”
Dietz's final, 21-page opinion took the extra step of blocking Texas from using portions of its system to pay for schools — but put that order on hold until July. That gives the Legislature, which reconvenes in January, an opportunity to “cure the constitutional deficiencies,” the ruling says.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's office, which had argued that the system was flawed but nonetheless constitutional, said that the state “will appeal and will defend this law, just as it defends all laws enacted by the Legislature when they are challenged in court.” That means the case is likely headed to the Texas Supreme Court.
If the high court upholds the Dietz decision, it will be up to state lawmakers to design a new funding method. Still, all appeals may not conclude until well after the 2015 legislative session is over.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Propane, oil prices expected to be lower over winter
- Ex-coal CEO Blankenship talks safety in secretly recorded calls
- Dell buying EMC in a transaction valued at about $67 billion
- Stocks up before earnings reports
- El Niño storms might not be savior for Calif.
- Half Moon Bay contest dubs 1,969-pound pumpkin the plumpest
- Supreme Court to consider reprieve for teens who kill
- Part of major highway reopens as South Carolina recovers from floods
- Lawmaker seeks ban on LGBT ‘conversion therapy’ in New Hampshire
- Community lines streets as students return to class in Roseburg
- Sagging inflation expected to rule out Social Security cost-of-living adjustment