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Tue Sep 1, 2015, 05:49 PM

State Asks Supreme Court to Drop School Finance Lawsuit

“Money isn’t pixie dust” when it comes to improving public schools, lawyers for the state of Texas told the state Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing an appeal in what has been described as the most far-reaching school finance case in state history. They urged the high court to either dismiss or remand the lawsuit brought four years ago by nearly two-thirds of the state's school districts.

Lawyers for those 600-plus districts meanwhile argued the state had not given them enough money to achieve higher goals state lawmakers have set for the state’s more than 5 million public school students, imposing them “without knowing the true cost” by relying on decades-old cost estimates that do not account for the growing population of disadvantaged students who are more expensive to educate.

Districts sued the state in 2011 after state lawmakers slashed $5.4 billion from public education to help balance a post-recession budget shortfall. During the long-running lawsuit, they have argued that the Legislature is violating its constitutional duty to provide an adequate and efficient public school system, enacting large cuts even as rigorous new testing and accountability systems raised the bar on expectations.

Since making those cutbacks, however, lawmakers have added back more than 90 percent of what they took away — albeit unevenly — while also enacting policy measures aimed at reducing the burden on student performance.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/09/01/one-year-later-school-finance-appeal-back-court/

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