• The trial began on October 22, and on December 5, the plaintiffs rested their case.   That makes 23 days for the presentation of the plaintiffs’ case that spanned over 7 weeks.
  • There are 4 plaintiff groups (Texas Taxpayers and Student Fairness Coalition plaintiffs, Calhoun County ISD plaintiffs, Fort Bend ISD plaintiffs, and Edgewood ISD plaintiffs), and 2 intervener groups (Efficiency Interveners and Charter School Interveners)
  • 15 superintendents testified (not counting several others who were also deposed).  Districts represented include: Humble, San Benito, Richardson, Everman, Alief, Calhoun County, La Feria, Brownwood, Abilene, Austin, Quinlan, Amarillo, Edgewood, Los Fresnos, and Pflugerville.
  • In addition to the superintendents, 1 Chief Financial Officer testified (from Fort Bend ISD), as well as 1 former superintendent (Dr. John Folks), 2 teachers, 2 parents, 4 taxpayers, 4 trustees.
  • 1 demographer (Steve Murdock) and 1 pollster (Larry Harris) have testified.  Dr. Murdock addressed the demographic trends he expects to see in Texas and the vital nature of education as the population makes these shifts.  Mr. Harris explained the polls he conducted that demonstrate that it is nearly impossible for Chapter 41 districts to pass a tax ratification election due to recapture.
  • 7 state experts have offered testimony (including Dr. Murdock, Lynn Moak, Dan Casey, Kal Kallison, Wayne Pierce, Elena Izquierdo, and Patricia Lopez)
  • 10 national experts have testified (including Steven Barnett on Pre-K, William Duncombe on cost function analysis, Diane Schanzenbach on class size, Delia Pompa on ELLs, economist Clive Belfield, Bruce Baker on adequacy, Allan Odden on the evidence based approach to determining the cost of adequacy, pollster Larry Harris, Albert Cortez on equity, and Jacob Vigdor on teacher quality and the labor market).
  • Judge Dietz has asked the question “so what?” countless times.  He has also asked repeatedly “how much does it cost?” in regards to the General Diffusion of Knowledge for the 5 million students in Texas, though very few have been able to give him a quantifiable amount. 
  • According to Odden’s model, the cost of an adequate education in Texas in 2010-11 was $43 billion, and when considering all the items that are not included in his model, the revised number would be $46.8 billion$3.7 billion difference in adequacy and actual spending in 2010-11, before the funding cuts were applied (and districts should be given allowance for enrichment above that at local discretion).
  • Lynn Moak testified that an additional $1,000 per student would be required for adequate funding, for a total of $5 billion more on top of the restoration of the funding cuts from 2011.
  • Various experts have testified that according to simple averages, the gaps between the wealthiest and least wealthy districts have widened since 2005.  Others, using a weighted average, which controls for extreme outliers in very small districts, showed that the disparities have declined since the West Orange Cove ruling found the system to be constitutionally equitable.
  • Testimony from superintendents has had the 6 following themes:
  1. Student population has grown, and in particular the number of students that present additional challenges such as economically disadvantaged and English Language Learners has grown the most;
  2. Standards have increased and the vast majority of students did not perform on STAAR at a level that indicates they are on track to graduate under these new expectations;
  3. Resources sufficient to meet the higher standards were not provided prior to the cuts made last session;
  4. Dramatic cuts were made to school districts during the last legislative session;
  5. Programs, staff, and services that would help students who are falling behind to meet the state standards (such as summer school, extended learning opportunities, additional staff for re-teaching/tutors, and specialized materials) have been eliminated based on the state cuts; and
  6. School districts do not have the capacity to access the resources through the enrichment tier to provide even the basic education.
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