School finance lawsuit on track for trial date
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The Fort Bend ISD Group represents 84 school districts suing the state and seeking massive education reforms. The group is only one of five plaintiffs in the case, which together represents hundreds of districts from across the state. Trial is set for Oct. 22.
With less than one month to trial, attorneys tell YNN they're busy preparing the trial strategy. Their argument is the state has not given schools adequate resources to meet rising standards. They say a likely solution is to spend money more wisely and where it's needed most.
“If we are talking about getting anywhere close to 70 percent of our kids to the standards that we’re setting, we’re talking about at least a couple of thousand bucks a kid,” Fort Bend ISD attorney David Thompson said. “You can’t give us the mission and then not give us the tools to go accomplish the mission. That’s the sense you get from the superintendents.”
Thompson said he's taking as many as four depositions a day, from superintendents and experts across the state. That will continue up until the week before trial. His firm is coordinating with lawyers representing the other plaintiffs to determine who will take the lead on experts who will testify to the problems they see with school funding.
“It’s sort of like six fat boys getting in a Volkswagen. You know, there are times when it’s not very pretty, but in all seriousness we are working very well together,” Thompson said. “I would describe it as some differences on some of the details on a minor level, but on the big issue we have worked extremely well."
Thompson said he's received calls as recent as last week from districts wanting to join the lawsuit.
No matter how the court rules, it will ultimately be up to the legislature to implement change.