When to start fixing school finance up in the air
Lawmakers disagree after court ruling
Texas lawmakers disagree on how soon to begin fixing the state's school finance system that was ruled unconstitutional by an Austin district court Monday.
"You have to wait through the appellate process before the Legislature reacts," said State Rep. Lyle Larson, of San Antonio.
Larson said in past years, that's been the case after three similar
Court rulings regarding the inequity between property rich and poor school districts.
However, a fellow Republican who is a former school board president and a House freshman from the Texas Panhandle, State Rep. Ken King,said, "The sooner we get started, or we can come up with a plan, that benefits all the kids in Texas."
"That's one potential vote," said State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer.
The San Antonio Democrat said if he has the needed signatures, he will introduce a resolution suspending the regular order of business in the Texas House, making school finance an emergency item.
Martinez-Fischer said the move is allowed under Texas Constitution.
He said others disagree.
"It's the Governor's job to declare issues an emergency and since he hasn't done it, we can't do anything," he said.
As for the potential cost, Larson said $8 billion to 10 billion are the estimates associated with the judge's ruling.
"We don't have that," Larson said. "We do have funding that we can backfill some of the cuts made in the last session."
Martinez-Fischer said $2 billion is unspent in the current budget, plus $5 billion in the next two-year cycle and $12 billion in the rainy day fund.
He said, "We have the money. There seems to be a lack of will."
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