It could be at least another six months before the Texas Supreme Court even sets a date to hear arguments in the school finance lawsuit — meaning it might be 2016 before the high court issues a decision in the case that started after lawmakers cut roughly $5.4 billion from state public education funding in 2011.
Agreeing to hear the state's appeal in the lawsuit Friday, the court laid out a timetable giving the state 80 days to file its briefs, school districts another 80 days after that, and both sides 40 days more to respond to each other's points. Only then will oral arguments will be scheduled.
A Travis County district judge ruled in favor of the more than 600 school districts that sued the state over its school finance system last August. In an almost 400-page opinion, District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin ruled that the method of school funding is unconstitutional not only because of inadequate funding and flaws in the way money is distributed, but also because it imposes a de facto state property tax. The state is appealing those findings directly to the Texas Supreme Court.