Saturday, July 16, 2011

Legislature Won’t Adequately Fund Public Education? Let’s Litigate!

The fly in the ointment, it seems, over our state government’s desire to end public education as we know it, in favor of privately run charter schools and private schools, is the fact that the state’s constitution won’t allow it. I’ve written about this elsewhere, but let’s just say that it is down in the constitution that the state legislature must adequately fund public education.

Not may, not might. Must.

So it comes as no surprise that another lawsuit is in the works. A lawsuit inspired by a woefully underfunded public education budget for both 2011-2012 and worse for 2012-2013.

Part of the problem is that many school districts cannot raise additional revenue as they are currently taxing at the maximum state-mandated limit of $1.17 per $100 assessed value. They depended on the state to stake them to their fair share, and the state reneged.

From The Chron:
“Humble ISD is one of about 220 school districts that have hit the maximum school operations tax rate of $1.17 (per $100 of property valuation) and cannot increase revenue.”

“The district's administrators have made cuts every year for most of the past decade and now face ‘even more devastating cuts,’ spokeswoman Karen Collier said: ‘Our backs are truly against the wall.’”
So when your back is against the wall, there is no other recourse than to litigate.
“’There's going to be litigation. The timing of it is really nothing more than putting together the case. We're still analyzing all the impact of the mess that they passed,’ veteran school finance lawyer Randall "Buck" Wood said.”
This isn’t a first, and it surely won’t be the last time there is litigation in Texas over adequate funding of public education. As long as there are forces in Austin that are actively lobbying for privatization of education, there will be inadequate funding of public education.

And there will be H-E-Double Hockey Sticks to pay at the polls if there is any justice on this planet.

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