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Decision In School Finance Trial Could Come Down This Week

Eileen Pace
TPR News

It’s been close to six months since more than 600 school districts in Texas finished making their argument that the current school finance system is unconstitutional.

Some close to the trial, speaking on condition of anonymity, say they believe Travis County District Judge John Dietz may render a decision as soon as this week.  In January 2013, Dietz ruled that the the school finance system in Texas was unconstitutional.

“In that it is inefficient, unequable, unsuitable and arbitrarily funds districts at different levels below the constitutionally required level for the general diffusion of knowledge for low-income and English-language learner students,” said Dietz in 2013.

The 2013 verbal decision came after the Legislature’s $5.4 billion cut to public education in 2011. Dietz then re-opened the case after the 2013 legislative session, which restored which restored $3.4 billion to the education budget, and allowed for new evidence.

“I don’t see the scope of whatever we would do theoretically by re-opening the evidence as re-litigating,” Dietz told attorneys at the start of 2014.

There was also a delay in the judge presenting his final decision when Attorney General Greg Abbott filed to have Dietz removed from the case for a series of private email conversations that happened between the judge and plaintiff attorneys.

Visiting Judge David Peeples disagreed with Abbott's assessment of those conversations and ruled that the trial should proceed.