Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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District judge grills AISD superintendent on school finance

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TWC News: District judge grills AISD superintendent on school finance
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At the school finance trial currently underway in Austin, AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen took the stand for the second day.

Hundreds of school districts from across Texas are suing the state for inadequate school funding.

Carstarphen reiterated to Judge John Dietz why cuts during the last legislative session, the district's ever-changing demographics and its growing population are a formula for failure without more money.

When asked whether AISD was currently able to provide students with an adequate education, Carstarphen answered, "With these dollars that we have today, well, the answer is no."

But just what is the right amount? And how should the state go about distributing the money? It might be up to the Texas Supreme Court to determine the answers.

"Judge Dietz has been engaged in an exploration of how, if he chose to go this route, what foundation would have to be laid to try to provide a better opportunity for the Supreme Court to try to establish an actual standard," attorney Lynn Moak said.

Moak also testified in the state's previous school finance trial.

"At various times, legislators of both parties have been frustrated over a failure of the court to give them firm guidance, but I think that's the way of the process," she said.

The trial is expected to last into mid-January. At that time, Judge Dietz will offer up an opinion. The losing side is expected to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court.

The search for a solution would then go into the hands of the lawmakers, many of whom have predicted school finance won't be addressed until a special session.

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