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School finance litigation gets underway

We ought to get a decision in the school finance lawsuits by the end of the year.

This case has become the largest of its kind in Texas’ decades-long history of school finance litigation. The school districts that have signed on serve about 70 percent of the 5 million students who attend Texas public schools.

“There are many long, complex cases, but in terms of the impact, I think these cases are unique,” said lawyer David Thompson, who represents the largest group of students.

As expected, [Judge John] Dietz agreed to consolidate into one the four school finance lawsuits that were filed late last year. A separate group of charter school supporters that petitioned to intervene in the case is also part of the litigation.

Dietz said he is aiming for the six-week trial to begin in early October, though a start date was not set at Wednesday’s hearing.

That schedule would give Dietz time to rule before the Legislature returns to Austin in January, even though lawmakers are not expected to act until after an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.

I could be flip and say that this is the biggest school finance lawsuit since the last one, but this really is a big deal. The Lege only ever does the right thing when forced to do so, and this is one of those rare opportunities to make it. I sure hope we do. Texas Politics has more.

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