The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Brian Stork


The current school finance system has failed to address the changing demographics of the state and has serious, long lasting negative effects on disadvantaged students by not providing better funding, services, or facilities. None of the attempts made to fix this glaring problem of inequity within the Texas school finance system has done anything besides point out these blatant flaws and patchwork approach to solving them. Judge Dietz concluded that since the current school finance system does not properly meet the general diffusion of knowledge requirement proscribed by Article VII, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution, it is inadequate and must me amended. Article VII, Section 1 is to be judged by three criteria: (1) whether or not the public school is efficient; (2) whether the system is adequate to provide its pupils a general diffusion of knowledge; and (3) whether the public education system is suitable. Financially struggling districts are more likely to be urban and compromised of predominantly minority and poor students, whose costs of education will often be higher due to the more extensive needs of these students as compared to those educated in property-rich districts. The Court notes that heavy reliance on local taxes, given the diversity of school districts, makes it challenging to have an efficient school system. There have been five main proposed resolutions to correct the Texas school finance system: (1) consolidation of the over 1,000 school districts across the State; (2) a constitutional amendment allowing for the imposition of a state-wide ad valorem tax; (3) a constitutional amendment permitting the creation of County Education Districts; (4) a constitutional amendment forbidding judicial oversight of the school finance system; and (5) a constitutional amendment allowing for the implementation of a state income tax.

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