MALDEF SUPPORTS LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO HELP FIX UNCONSTITUTIONAL TEXAS SCHOOL FINANCING SYSTEM
Legislation Aims To Bring Texas Closer to Realizing Equitable and Adequate Educational Opportunities for All Texas Students
AUSTIN, TX - MALDEF strongly supports a bill introduced late last week by Texas State Representatives Armando Walle and Mary Gonzalez, HB 3671, the only comprehensive school finance bill filed during the 84th Texas Legislative Session. MALDEF, Intercultural Development Research Association, and The CPPP (Center for Public Policy Priorities) served as a resource to Reps. Walle and Gonzalez on the bill. This legislation aims to bring Texas closer to realizing equitable and adequate educational opportunities for all Texas students than ever before and reduce inefficiencies in the school finance system.
"Unless Texas acts to comprehensively reform its education finance system, the state will fail its students and its future, jeopardizing prosperity for all Texas residents," stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel.
The legislation is a direct response to the ruling of Travis County District Court Judge John Dietz, who in August 2014 declared the current Texas school finance system inadequate, unsuitable, and inequitable for Texas school children. The Court ordered Texas to correct the violation before July 1, 2015, or else face an injunction enjoining the school finance system. Furthermore, the legislation responds to a call to action by the Latino Education Task Force, which MALDEF co-chaired, that ranked public school finance as the top issue impacting the education of Latina/o students. The Task Force concluded that students in property-wealthy districts should not continue to access substantially greater resources at lower tax effort than students in property-poor districts.
"This bill makes substantial gains in equalizing opportunities for all Texas students and allowing students to compete on more equal footing" stated MALDEF Southwest Counsel David Hinojosa. "Texas cannot afford to postpone this necessary investment and should act now and pass HB 3671."
The bill more appropriately provides educational opportunities needed by economically disadvantaged students in today's challenging educational system, by ensuring that these students are the beneficiaries of a larger share of the dollars they generate for the system. It also more appropriately provides educational opportunities needed by English learner students, by increasing the bilingual allotment.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.