The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports:
Austin state judge John Dietz, a Democrat, ruled that the Texas Legislature has “failed to meet its constitutional duty to suitably provide for Texas public schools.” The judge stayed his ruling until July of next year to give the legislature, which will next convene in January, an opportunity to make additional changes.
More than 600 school districts, educating about three-fourths of the five million K-12 public-school students in Texas, filed a legal challenge in 2011, after the state cut more than $5 billion from school budgets, citing fiscal pressures.
Judge Dietz sided with the schools last year, ruling that Texas wasn’t spending enough to meet its constitutional duty to provide a “general diffusion of knowledge.” Afterward, legislators increased spending on K-12 public schools by about $3.5 billion.
But Texas school districts returned to court, claiming the increase was still insufficient to meet the demands of educating children in the fast-growing state, now home to more than 26 million people. On Thursday, the judge concurred that the state’s school-finance system remained inadequate. . . .