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Mother's story puts face to financial imbalance in Texas schools

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TWC News: Mother's story puts face to financial imbalance in Texas schools
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The concept of equity was referenced frequently when the ongoing school finance lawsuit kicked off last year.

Now, three months later, the debate continues as three-quarters of the state’s school districts work together, arguing that Texas failed its constitutional obligation to properly finance public schools.

On Wednesday, Danessa Bolling took the stand and told the judge that she has had to make sacrifices to give her daughter a fair shake. This single mother of three said she transferred her 14 year-old daughter to another school district for better educational opportunities.

"There is no reason for any kid, not just my kid, any kid to not have a quality education and it's seems based on where you live,” Bolling said. “Some kids are not afforded that and it's just not fair."

Bolling lives in the North Forest School District in Northeast Houston. North Forest ISD spends about $4,300 per student on academics. The new campus where her freshmen daughter now attends spends $1,000 more.

"The Ms. Bollings of the world should not have to do what they are doing,” attorney Richard E. Gray III said. “We ought to have school districts provide the resources to provide the education that is needed for the kids."

Gray represents more than 400 of the 600 school districts fighting for what they call financial equity in Texas schools. They are suing the state as a result of the $5.4 billion cuts in education during the 2011 legislative session. School administrators say higher academic standards coupled with fewer tax dollars creates and equation that doesn't add up to a fair education.

"Whether you come from low socio-economic background or whether you are of a minority status, you should have the same educational opportunity as anybody else," he said.

Closing arguments are expected to begin Feb. 4.

The state has not commented on this case.

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