- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Supreme Court declared the state’s school finance system constitutional on Friday, settling the sixth major court case over how Texas funds its public schools since 1984. Here’s a look at major milestones in 30-plus years of legal battles:

- May 1984: San Antonio’s Edgewood school district sues, arguing Texas’ school finance system is inequitable.

- October 1989: The Texas Supreme Court throws out the school funding law after finding “glaring disparities” between districts in wealthy and poor areas.

- June 1990: The Legislature devises a new system meant to better equalize funding, but excludes the wealthiest districts.

- January 1991: The Texas Supreme Court again finds the system unconstitutional.

- May 1991: The Legislature approves 188 county education districts that consolidate property tax bases for wealthy school districts and nearby districts.

- January 1992: The Texas Supreme Court rules levies collected by county education districts are too much like a state income tax, which is unconstitutional.

- May 1993: Days before a court-imposed deadline threatened to close Texas schools, the Legislature forces districts in areas with high property values to share local tax money with poorer districts.

- January 1995: The Texas Supreme Court upholds the “Robin Hood” plan.

- April 2001: Property-wealthy school districts sue, arguing the funding system has created an illegal property tax after many districts pushed collections to the legal limit. Nearly 300 other school districts join the case, expanding it to include arguments that the funding system is inadequate and inequitable.

- September 2004: Austin-based state District Judge John Dietz rules the education funding system unconstitutional.

- November 2005: The Texas Supreme Court rules that local property taxes for school funding amount to an unconstitutional statewide tax.

- May 2006: The Legislature cuts local school property taxes by one-third while allocating more state funding to public education. Lawmakers place minimum funding requirements for districts based on a temporary freeze in the amount of per-student money districts spent that year; but the freeze is never lifted. The Legislature also caps tax rates at $1.17 per $100 of property valuation.

- May 2011: Facing a $27 billion budget shortfall due in part to the Great Recession, the Legislature cuts $5.4 billion in classroom funding and educational grant programs.

- October-December 2011: More than 600 school districts in wealthy and poor parts of Texas file suit, charging that funding is inadequate and unfairly distributed and that tax-rate cap constitutes an illegal state property tax.

- October 2012: Testimony begins before Dietz.

- February 2013: Dietz rules the school finance system is unconstitutional, doesn’t provide adequate money and that the money available isn’t fairly distributed.

- May 2013: The Legislature restores more than $3 billion in public education funding.

- January 2014: Dietz reopens the case to hear evidence on the additional funding.

- August 2014: Dietz again rules it unconstitutional, calling the extra money “plainly insufficient to satisfy constitutional standards.”

- May 2015: The Legislature approves an extra $1.5 billion for schools, but that isn’t enough to cover the 2011 cuts when adjusted for enrollment growth and inflation.

- Sept. 1, 2015: The Texas Supreme Court hears oral arguments from school district attorneys and the state.

- May 13, 2016: The high court rules the state’s school finance system is constitutional, though “undeniably imperfect.”

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