The judge overseeing Texas’ ongoing school finance lawsuit appears to be second-guessing his earlier decision to reconvene the trial in January so that changes made by the Legislature could be considered.
State District Judge John Dietz ruled in February that the state’s system for funding public education was unconstitutional because the Legislature in 2011 had instituted historic budget cuts at the same time as it increased academic standards for students and schools.
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School finance litigation
Late 2011: Lawsuits filed by four different groups of school districts, which together amount to two-thirds of Texas school districts.
October 2012: Trial begins in Travis County courtroom of state District Judge John Dietz.
February 2013: Dietz rules Texas’ school finance system unconstitutional, finding that the Legislature had failed to live up to its constitutional obligation by instituting historic budget cuts at the same time as it ratcheted up academic standards for students and schools.
May 2013: Texas Legislature passes a 2014-15 budget that restores $3.4 billion of the $5.4 billion in school funding that had been cut in 2011. Lawmakers also trimmed from 15 to 5 the number of high-stakes tests required of students for graduation.
June 2013: Dietz decides to re-open the trial to take new evidence based on the changes made by the Legislature. That trial had been scheduled for January 2014.