(SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS) MALDEF (the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund)
welcomed the court order released this afternoon by Travis County Judge John K. Dietz following his
declaration that the Texas school finance system is inadequate and inefficient.
granted final judgment in favor of MALDEF’s clients and found specifically that the current school
finance system violates the Texas Constitution because property-poor districts do not have
substantially equal access to facilities funding and do not receive sufficient funding to educate their
students, particularly when taking into account the larger proportion of limited English proficient and
low-income students in districts like the Edgewood Intervenors.
Because Texas continues
to rely primarily on local property taxes to fund public schools, and the property wealth of school
districts varies widely around the State, Judge Dietz concluded that the State must equalize school
funding with provisions similar to those in place today.
MALDEF celebrated this victory
for fair school funding with its clients, known as the Edgewood Intervenors in this case. The Edgewood
Intervenors are twenty-two property-poor and predominantly Latino school districts that joined this
latest round of litigation to remedy the continued inequality in school funding and ensure that they
would have the funds necessary to educate their students. Many of these districts were plaintiffs in
the original Edgewood school finance cases that led to the current funding system.
latest lawsuit, West Orange-Cove CISD v. Neeley, (“Edgewood V”) was brought by both property-rich
districts and property-poor districts, with neither party calling for the end of the equalization
measures known as “Robin Hood.” Dietz, the Chief Judge of the District Court in Travis County, issued
655 findings of fact and 24 conclusions of law based upon the evidence in a five week trial held in
August and September of this year.
“Today’s ruling supports the basic notion that every
schoolchild in Texas deserves a fighting chance and that educational opportunity depends on the fair
funding of schools,” said MALDEF President and General Counsel Ann Marie Tallman.
MALDEF Regional Counsel Nina Perales added: “Property-poor school districts have continued
to suffer from underfunding, even after our victories in the Edgewood cases. Judge Dietz’s ruling
recognizes the persistent inequality in school finance and sends a strong message to the Texas
Legislature that Latino students deserve better resources and a meaningful opportunity to learn.”
David Hinojosa, MALDEF Staff Attorney and co-lead Counsel for the Edgewood Intervenors
commented further: “Judge Dietz recognizes that our superintendents are doing all they can with the
resources they have, but that in the end, money does matter. The State of Texas erred by raising
academic standards for all Texas children yet only providing funding for a less-than-adequate