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School Finance Lawsuits: Two Millions Strong

by: Michael Hurta

Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 02:45 PM CST

Within the next week, if not already, there will be two separate lawsuits against the Texas Legislature's failure of a school finance system that each represent a million students. With all the school finance lawsuits combined, even with overlap, probably a third of Texas students, at least, will have their districts fighting against the state. Because with the leadership in the Pink Dome, these students just aren't getting enough.

Earlier this week, we saw this in the Quorum Report:

Thompson & Horton expects to represent up to a million students across the state within the next week in its school finance litigation, Attorney David Thompson told a Houston audience hosted by Sen. Rodney Ellis on Saturday.

Combined with other existing lawsuits, such a number could mean that one in four - if not one in three - students in Texas classrooms will be pledged to a fight of the current school finance system. That fight is expected to go to court next fall.

(For reference, the Thompson & Horton lawsuit is the one that the Austin Independent School District joined.)

The Equity Center has a separate lawsuit that has been joined by hundreds of independent school districts here in Texas. And only two days after the Quorum Report news, this press release arrived in inboxes:

As of this week, the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition represents more than one
million students statewide.

The Coalition's member school districts range from large and urban districts to small and rural districts, and everything in between. Like the make-up of Texas, the Coalition's members are varied and unique. The common thread that ties all these schools together, though, is that they are all currently underfunded and unfairly treated by our public school finance system.

"The fact that the coalition represents more than one million students will send a strong message to the courts that the problems with our funding system do not affect only a small subset of school districts. This is a chronic problem that must be addressed for every Texas taxpayer and student," said Charles Dupre, Superintendent at Pflugerville ISD and the recently-elected President of the Coalition.

More than 320 school districts have joined the coalition so far. Districts can still join by passing a school board resolution. The coalition also represents individual taxpayers and parents.

(For reference, in these two lawsuits alone, that's a whole lot of upset Texans who have gone to our legal system to raise hell. Bravo and good luck!)

One of these lawsuits is likely to make quite some headway. I imagine the Republican lawmakers in charge will have a grand ol' time defending their competence to their constituents now, right?


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