The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

February 9, 2013

Superintendents not surprised by ruling

By JOSEPH HAMRICK
Herald-Banner Staff

— The way that Texas public schools are funded is unconstitutional, according to State District Judge John Dietz

Dietz made that ruling on Monday after hearing a more than three-month-long case on school funding. This isn’t the first time he’s made this ruling either. Eight years earlier, Dietz made the same ruling, which brought about massive school reforms. 

Last October, more than 600 school districts across the state sued Texas after the 82nd Legislature cut $5.4 billion from public schools.

The state is likely to appeal the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court.

Blake Cooper, superintendent of Commerce Independent School District, said this was an expected ruling.

“I think it states the obvious,” he said. “The state is unconstitutional in its funding of schools.”

During the trial, a few of the superintendents, including Micheal French, superintendent of Quinlan ISD, spoke in Austin.

According to French, Texas public schools were already facing financial challenges before the state cut $5.4 billion from education in 2011.

“We already had a disparity problem before the cuts, and that made it worse,” he said. “All it does is hurt and cheat kids.”

Although French is happy with the result, he said that this ruling is round one of many to come.

“It could take 12 to 18 months for the appeals process, then the legislature will have to act,” he said. “I hope they do the right thing now in this session.”

Cooper said the superintendents who spoke in the case deserve to be praised.

“To endure the questioning they had to endure, they’re to be applauded,” he said. “I am very very pleased with the decision.”

Superintendents don’t usually delve into politics, but according to Cooper, they were fed up with how schools were being funded.

“We’re just tired of being treated like this,” he said. “We’ve had enough of our kids not being treated fairly.”