Marilyn Tennissen Oct. 2, 2012, 1:51pm

The highly anticipated trial over the constitutionality of the system to fund Texas schools is only weeks away.

A trial date has been set for Oct. 22 in Travis County, where District Judge John K. Dietz has set aside six weeks to hear the six suits that he has consolidated.

The school districts argue the state has failed to provide adequate resources to meet the higher academic standards established by the Legislature. They also argue the system for dispersing state dollars among Texas school districts is inequitable and arbitrary.

About 600 of the 1,024 school districts in Texas are involved in the suits.

According to a study released in September by the Center for American Progress said Texas has one of the largest spending gaps in the country.

“In fact, in 2012, the wealthiest districts received almost $1,500 more per pupil than the lowest-wealth districts,” the report states.

The current funding system began in 1993 with 35 districts in the state required to share some of what they raise in tax revenue to the state for distribution to poorer school districts. Since then, the number of districts considered “property wealthy” has increased to 374.

Dietz has told attorneys to keep arguments short and concise, and encourages the use of visuals, spreadsheets, diagrams and charts instead of piles of briefs.

He is expected to make his ruling after the Legislature is back in session in January.

The suits have been filed by Fort Bend ISD et al, Texas Taxpayers and Student Fairness Coalition, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Texas School Coalition, Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education and Texas Charter Schools Association.

More News