Updated 10/25/2012 01:05 PM
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Antonio Limon grew up poor, learning English as a second language. Now, he is school superintendent, teaching kids who have backgrounds he relates to.
However, he still remembers his humble beginnings.
"My mother never went to school a day in her life and my father dropped out of school in the third grade," he said. "Ever since I was a little boy and I can remember, my mother would say, 'You're going to be a teacher.'"
Testifying against the state in the school finance lawsuit, Limon says his student population is 98 percent Hispanic, most of whom are poor and need extra resources to succeed.
At San Benito ISD, 82.9 percent of students are economically disadvantaged.
"Give me a level playing field and we'll produce the same results as anyone in the state," Limon said. "Give all students an equal chance to be successful."
Limon told the court Wednesday that legislative budget cuts worth $5.4 billion hurt his district's demographic bottom line.
Beginning the 2011-12 school year, property-poor San Benito Consolidated Independent School District reduced a $1.3 million budget without directly impacting the classroom. The deductions went as follows:
San Benito Budget Cuts
Early Resignations: $400,000
Staff Travel: $175,000
Athletic Travel: $100,000
Field Trips: $ 75,000
Convenience Days: $300,000
Fellow Superintendent Lloyd Graham agrees with Limon - the state's immigrant and socio-economically disadvantaged student needs a greater piece of the budgetary pie.
"Why in the great state of Texas, the greatest state in the greatest nation on this earth, why is one of the fastest growing demographics the impoverished child?" Graham said.
According to the plaintiffs in this case, the answer to that question is a lack of adequate and efficient public education.
State attorneys are not commenting in the case, but have said school districts are doing a poor job spending public dollars wisely in the classroom.
Texas schools received more $50 billion for public education this school year.