Reason #1: Not "Good" and No Longer "Enough"
After the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from the public education budget in 2011, more than 600 Texas school districts sued the State of Texas, charging that the State was failing on equity and adequacy grounds to live up to its constitutional duty to provide for an "efficient system of public free schools." The Supreme Court of Texas pretty much agreed with the school districts' statement of the situation, but in its ruling for the State, refused to force the Legislature to remedy the problem, deciding that the current system was barely "good enough" ... for now. In her ruling, Justice Eva Guzman wrote:
As could have been predicted, without the courts forcing them to, the Legislature failed to remedy the problem. And, as predicted by Justice Guzman, shortfalls in resources and performance persist and a large number of students are still in danger of falling further behind.Good enough now ... does not mean that the system is good or that it will continue to be enough. Shortfalls in both resources and performance persist in innumerable respects, and a perilously large number of students is in danger of falling further behind.
Local school districts cannot wait forever for the state legislature to fulfill its duty. In fact, the current state legislature is not interested in solving the problem. This legislature is led by men like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who see school funding not as something to fix, but as something to raid to fund private school vouchers for unaccountable entities.
Raising the local property tax rate is not a first option. But eventually, the time comes when it's the best remaining option. The Texas legislature's inaction (at best) and open hostility to public schools (at worst) dictate that the time has come for local voters to take action themselves. Vote YES on November 6.