FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2005
"The Texas Supreme Court's decision was discouraging, but not surprising. It was generally expected that the Court would only agree with the unconstitutional nature of the state property tax issue. I agree with the Court on this matter because local taxpayers are carrying too much of the burden of funding public education. However, the Court did not go far enough with regard to the other challenges.
The Supreme Court may have declared adequacy and equity in our education system as constitutional for now, but they recognize that something must be done in the near future to address these concerns. The Court has sent us a warning, and it's up to the Legislature to improve the public school finance system that has the potential for problems in the very near future. Texas must do better than the minimum standard or there will be grave harm to the quality of education provided to our school children.
It may meet the muster of the Court to solely address the property tax issue, but the reality is that if we want to give Texas children the finest education they deserve, we must find a way to provide a greater investment in our public schools and equity for all school children across the state no matter where they live. Let us remember that we are not only talking about dollars, but about our children and the future of Texas.
The Senate already passed a plan with an exceptionally high degree of equity. This Court decision reinforces that the Legislature take a closer look at that Senate proposal in the next session. Greater equity is attainable today. Let's not wait until the disparity between the rich and poor widens and we end up before the court again.
The Court also implied that more evidence is needed to render a decision on facilities. This was especially aggravating to me as I have struggled every Legislative session to persuade the Legislature that facility inequities exist for fast-growth and property poor school districts. I will continue to fight for better permanent classrooms for our school children, and I am going to insist that the Alvarado plaintiffs provide the additional evidence necessary to show that inequity in school facilities are present in this state."
Note: The staff member handling this issue is Senior Policy Analyst, Perla Cavazos, 512-463-0127.