Update on Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition

Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition in Austin. This is the group of schools that have come to gather to address the inequities and inadequacies of the current school funding program. Eustace ISD is a member of this coalition. One of the main points of yesterday’s meeting was to elect members of the coalition to various positions. We also received an update regarding the litigation efforts of other groups.

Currently, there are four groups in the state that are planning on challenging the school funding provided by the state. The Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition, a group organized by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a group of schools organized by attorney David Thompson, and the Texas School Coalition Group. The MALDEF group is approaching their lawsuit from the equity level and has goals very similar to the Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition. The Thompson group is approaching their challenge from an adequacy standpoint: the state is not providing adequate funding to meet the standards set by the state. The Texas Schools Coalition Group is comprised of wealthy school districts that do not want to see their level of funding decreased.

As we have discussed before, the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition is challenging the current funding system on both equity and adequacy. There are currently 321 school districts in this coalition. Individual taxpayers have also joined the coalition. In fact, the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition is currently seeking individual taxpayers and businesses to join with school districts in this litigation. El Paso ISD is currently the largest district in the coalition. By service center regions, Region 7, which is the service center for EISD, has the most districts in the coalition with 39. Altogether, the coalition represents over 1,000,000 school children throughout the state.

Attached is an article from the Equity Center that demonstrates how inequity can impact districts. While we are certainly not as large as these districts, the concept is still the same. Keep in mind that EISD is currently receiving less funding per ADA than San Angelo.

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