A spokesperson for the Texas State Teachers Association says the organization wasn’t as concerned about a district court judge’s ruling as it was about what state lawmakers would do in the budget.
“(The judge) noted that the school system was woefully underfunded,” spokesperson Clay Robison says, “and it was not funded fairly.”
Five-point-4 billion dollars was cut from school funding during the 2011 Texas legislative session. Schools were wanting that money to be restored.
That wouldn’t have been brought on by the judge’s decision, at least not immediately. Lawmakers added 3-point-9 billion dollars to the state spending plan.
“The Legislature also left eight billion dollars in the Rainy Day Fund,” he says. “They could have restored the entire amount, but they chose not to do so.”
District Court Judge John Dietz ruled the Texas funding formula for public education was unconstitutional last February. He had promised a more detailed, written ruling in mid-March, but that information still hasn’t been forthcoming.
“The Legislature had the money to restore the 5-point-4 billion dollars in funding cuts,” says Clay Robison, “and they didn’t have to wait for the judge to do that.”