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 2050, Dr. Murdock expects that the student population in Texas schools will nearly double, and grow by more than 90 percent. He also emphasized that education is the key to economic success. The presentation slides used during Dr. Murdock’s testimony can be found here.
The first superintendent to testify in the trial was Dr. Guy Sconzo of Humble ISD, who took to the witness stand Tuesday afternoon. Dr. Sconzo described the extreme hardships caused by the state budget cuts, especially since the cuts amounted to more than the local tax revenue generated by his district when they jumped to the $1.17 tax cap. Without any remaining taxing capacity, Humble ISD has had to make significant changes, including the loss of many staff members.
The State began their cross examination on Tuesday afternoon, and raised questions about what level of funding would be deemed adequate for Humble ISD. The State posed a series of questions regarding Humble ISD’s per WADA funding on an all funds basis, including not just state and local funds, but federal and other miscellaneous sources as well, such as facility use fees.
Court recessed for the day before the cross examination was complete, so that is where Court will begin Wednesday morning. Following Dr. Sconzo, Antonio G. Limon of San Benito CISD will testify Wednesday morning, and then Dr. Kay Waggoner of Richardson ISD will take the stand on behalf of the Calhoun County ISD plaintiffs.