School finance expert Lynn Moak provided important testimony during the trial on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Moak helped to define the General Diffusion of Knowledge (GDK), explain the changes in the system since the last court ruling, expound upon the new state assessments, including the first round of results, and accountability system, as […]
Testimony in school finance trial shows low-income students far behind on new tests.
Texas school districts need an additional $6 billion a year to get students up to the high academic standards lawmakers have put in place, a school finance expert testified on Monday during the ongoing trial.
“I don’t believe that we’re going to close educational gaps and reach … college and career (readiness) without spending additional money,” said Lynn Moak, a consultant who has testified at all six school finance trials in Texas.
Texas school districts spent a total of $43.1 billion for operating cost in 2010-11, the school year before the Legislature enacted $2.5 billion in education cuts. Moak estimated that in addition to restoring the cuts, schools would need an additional $6 billion to boost the performance of low-income students and English-language learners, in particular.
The state’s latest school finance lawsuit is only into its first week of hearings, but this much already is clear: Poor and wealthy districts aren’t fighting each other. They are united in protesting that lawmakers aren’t adequately funding Texas schools. It is not often that you see rich and poor districts partnering in a school finance case.
Equally compelling is that suburban, urban and rural districts are making the same funding point. So are charter schools. In fact, most corners of Texas are saddling up together in this suit, in which the main contention is that legislators aren’t meeting their constitutional duty to provide resources for a decent education.
The plaintiffs have on their side the massive $5.4 billion cut that legislators took out of school budgets during the 2011 Legislature. Plus, the state has limited local districts’ ability to raise funds. In 2006, legislators put an arbitrary cap on the rate districts can charge property-tax payers without calling an election to go beyond the ceiling.
Former state demographer Dr. Steve Murdock was the first witness to testify in the trial. Dr. Murdock spent three hours describing rapid population growth and changes taking place in Texas. He noted that Texas ranks first out of all 50 states in school enrollment growth, but 43rd in total per pupil expenditures. By the year […]
Mark Trachtenberg and John Turner, attorneys with Haynes and Boone, LLP, represent 88 school districts in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state school finance system. They issued the following statements today after the trial of the lawsuit began: “Today, in opening arguments, we were pleased to present our two primary claims to the […]
The school finance trial is now officially underway. In his opening statement, Mark Trachtenberg repeated the words Judge Dietz stated at the end of the previous school finance trial: “Education costs money, but ignorance costs more money. Money invested in education benefits first the children of Texas, or in other words, our future.” Mark’s presentation […]
TXSC Legislative Goals and Objectives Thanks to all of you who were in attendance for our September 29 membership meeting. For those of you who may have missed the meeting, the Texas School Coalition Goals and Objectives for the 83rd Legislature are posted on our website. You can access those, including a PDF document you […]
The attached presentation was designed with school boards and community members in mind. Please feel free to download the PowerPoint file and customize the presentation for your district. Presenter notes can also be found within the file to supplement the information provided in the slides. Click to download presentation.
Today, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced the appointments of Senate Committee Chairs, including the appointment of Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Education. The Lt. Governor’s press release stated that this appointment was “due to his strong interest in improving public education for children, instituting innovative change and providing […]