Judge: Texas school finance plan unconstitutional
‘‘Texas should be ashamed,’’ Gray said of the funding system.
The state countered that the system is adequately funded and that school districts don’t always spend their money wisely. ‘‘We are not here to debate whether the state is providing the best system money can buy,’’ argued Assistant Attorney General Shelley Dahlberg. ‘‘We are here asking if the state system is a constitutional one and we believe that it is.’’
Districts in rich and poor parts of the state are on the same side of the case since the funding mechanism relies on a ‘‘Robin Hood’’ scheme where districts with high property values or abundant tax revenue from oil or natural gas resources turn over part of the money they raise to poorer districts.
But many ‘‘property wealthy’’ districts say that while they are in better shape than their poorer counterparts, the system still starves them of funding since local voters who would otherwise support property tax increases to bolster funding for their schools refuse to do so, knowing that most of the money would be sent somewhere else.
Also suing were charter schools, which wanted state funding for their facilities and for Texas to ease or a remove a cap allowing only 215 licenses to operate charter schools statewide. Dietz said those complaints did not violate the state constitution.