School Finance Litigation and Charter Schools: Next Steps
What's the latest?
June 19, 2013: Judge Dietz determines to reopen evidence so that the court can hear about the impact of certain legislation on the school districts' and charter schools' claims. Some of the legislation the judge may take into consideration includes, but is not limited to: SB 1, SB 2, SB 758, HB 5, and HB 1025.
A reopening of the trial evidence, beginning January 6, 2014. The extended trial could last as long as six weeks.
History of Texas charter school finance litigation
- June 26, 2012: Charter School lawsuit filed by charter school parents and the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA)
- August 2012: The Charter School lawsuit was consolidated into the larger Texas school finance-focused lawsuit, making the parents' and TCSA's suit the sixth out of the six lawsuits filed.
- January 28-30, 2013: Charter School evidence presented and witnesses testified in District Court.
February 4, 2013: Judge Dietz orally
announced his rulings
after a 45-day trial.
- Ruled in favor of the four traditional district plaintiff groups, finding that the state funding system is unconstitutional, as it is inefficient, unsuitable and inadequate.
- Ruled against the claims made by the efficiency interveners (TREE), and stated that the claims were policy decisions to be made by the Legislature.
- Ruled against the charter school parent and TCSA claims, and said that "It is within the Legislature's discretion to fund charter schools differently. Any funding disparities created by that system do not rise to the level of unconstitutionality."
Charter School Claims:
The charter school plaintiffs requested protection for children's constitutional rights as it relates to facilities funding for open-enrollment charter schools and a lifting of the arbitrary cap on charters imposed by the Legislature.
- No facilities funding for open-enrollment charter schools results in unconstitutionally inequitable and inadequate levels of funding for students attending charter schools; and
- The arbitrary cap of 305 (by 2019) on open-enrollment charter school holders presents an arbitrary obstacle to the State's ability to achieve constitutional efficiency and stymies the very efficiency charter schools were intended to promote.
The cap on charter schools is arbitrary especially with an ever expanding waiting list of students across the state.
Nothing is more inequitable than zero.
- Public charter schools have existed in Texas education since 1995 with no facilities funding from the state.
- Parents in charter schools exercised the options given by the state and chose the right school for their children to be successful. They did not choose less funding for their student.
The cap on charter schools is arbitrary especially with a waiting list of students across the state.
- As tax-payers, Texans object to the arbitrary cap on charter schools. The Texas Constitution expressly requires that the educational system be efficient.
- There is a waiting list of more than 100,000 students whose parents want to exercise options and cannot.
June 20, 2013
Charter school students wait for constitutional protections as school finance trial continues
February 4, 2013
Charter school students denied constitutional protections in school finance ruling
October 22, 2012
First Time Charter Schools Considered in Texas School Finance Trial
Need for Facilities Funding and Lifting the Arbitrary Cap
June 26, 2012
Texas Lawsuit Filed in Support of Efficient and Adequate Provisions for Charter School Students
Parents and taxpayers petition for constitutional rights for Texas charter school students
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Vice President of Operations & Growth
YES Prep Public Schools
Texas Charter Schools Association
Denise Nance Pierce
General Counsel and Vice President of Member Services
Texas Charter Schools Association
Anthony Rolle & Associates
Andrews Kurth, LLP
James Strohmeyer, Jr, AIA, NCARB