school finance http://kut.org en Lawyers Give Closing Arguments in Texas School Finance Trial http://kut.org/post/lawyers-give-closing-arguments-texas-school-finance-trial <p>There finally seems to be an end in sight in the Texas school finance trial as lawyers gave closing arguments Friday afternoon.</p><p>The trial initially examined if Texas constitutionally funds public education. In 2012, District Judge John Dietz preliminarily ruled the system was unconstitutional, but he reopened the trial to see if the actions of the 2013 legislature could change his final ruling.</p><p> Sat, 08 Feb 2014 00:30:20 +0000 Kate McGee 9742 at http://kut.org Lawyers Give Closing Arguments in Texas School Finance Trial Texas Judge Reopens School Finance Trial (Update) http://kut.org/post/texas-judge-reopens-school-finance-trial-update <p><strong>Update</strong>: Travis County District Judge John Dietz heard opening arguments today in the second round of Texas' school finance trial. The two sides are arguing over whether actions taken by the legislature last year change the judge’s preliminary ruling that the state’s public education finance system is unconstitutional.</p><p>When the legislature reconvened last year, it added back $3.4 billion for public education after it cut $5.4 billion during the 2011 session. Lawmakers reduced the number of required standardized tests for graduation from 15 to five.</p><p>At issue: were those changes enough to create a fair and equitable system to finance public education and allow schools and students to meet the state standards?</p><p><strike> Tue, 21 Jan 2014 22:48:09 +0000 Kate McGee 9598 at http://kut.org Texas Judge Reopens School Finance Trial (Update) How the School Finance Trial Will Impact Texas Education http://kut.org/post/how-school-finance-trial-will-impact-texas-education <p>If you're confused by the all the lawsuits, arguments and recent rulings in the ongoing Texas school finance case, you're not alone.</p><p>Last month, the drawn out saga took a new turn when the presiding judge in the case said he'd need to reopen the case in January to determine whether the way the state pays for its public schools still needs fixing. In essence, it looks like Texas has another six week trial to look forward to.</p><p>It seems like now is as good a time as any to get up to speed on where the case has been, and where it could go from here. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 16:35:58 +0000 Laura Heinhauer 8365 at http://kut.org How the School Finance Trial Will Impact Texas Education Will Surplus Revenue go to Public Education? http://kut.org/post/will-surplus-revenue-go-public-education <p>One of the men who controls the state’s checkbook is leaving the door open to restoring some of the $5.4 billion in public education cuts enacted two years ago.</p><p>House Appropriations chair <a href="http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=10">Jim Pitts</a> took questions from lawmakers on the House floor today, including one from Austin Democrat <a href="http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=48">Donna Howard</a>.</p><p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 01:24:39 +0000 Nathan Bernier 6554 at http://kut.org Will Surplus Revenue go to Public Education? Moody's: TX School Finance Ruling 'Credit Negative' http://kut.org/post/moodys-tx-school-finance-ruling-credit-negative <p>The<a href="http://www.moodys.com/"> Moody’s credit rating agency </a>says last week’s Texas school finance ruling could have a negative effect on the state’s credit rating. &nbsp;Last week, <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/judge-states-education-funding-system-unconstitutional">a state district court ruled</a> that the present school finance system is unconstitutional, in part because it inadequately funds public schools.</p><p>Moody’s is not downgrading Texas’ coveted triple-A credit rating, but the report suggests that could all change if the state is forced to tap its reserves to overhaul the school finance system.</p><p> Sat, 09 Feb 2013 01:17:26 +0000 Ryland Barton 6533 at http://kut.org Moody's: TX School Finance Ruling 'Credit Negative' Judge: State's Education Funding System Unconstitutional http://kut.org/post/judge-states-education-funding-system-unconstitutional <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">More than 600 school districts from across Texas are celebrating now that </span><a href="http://www.co.travis.tx.us/courts/civil/district/250.asp" style="line-height: 1.5;">Judge John Dietz</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> from the </span>250th<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> District Court found the state’s school finance system was unconstitutional.&nbsp;Meanwhile, state attorneys are gearing up to appeal the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p>The lead attorney for the state in this case is Nichole Bunker-Henderson. She told the court, “It is true, as the plaintiffs have alleged, that we have all been asked to do more with less.&nbsp;State agencies cut nea<span style="line-height: 1.5;">rly 10 percent of their budgets, and districts less than half of that. Our system did not collapse," she said. "It did not fall off the bridge.&nbsp;Perhaps the system became more efficient.”</span></p><p> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 00:42:11 +0000 Joy Diaz 6483 at http://kut.org The Lead: Austin Road Deaths Mount; WilCo Inquiry Continues http://kut.org/post/lead-austin-road-deaths-mount-wilco-inquiry-continues <p></p><p>Good morning. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ewx/">National Weather Service</a>&nbsp;says sunny and warm weather is the order of the day, with expected highs in the mid-70s.</p><p><strong>Lead Story</strong>: Ten people have died in traffic accidents in Austin so far this year. That’s twice as many as this time last year.</p><p>The city has launched a survey as part of an effort to reverse that trend, looking for feedback on how to make Austin safer for cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians. You can <a href="http://austintexas.gov/article/city-austin-embarks-safe-walk-safe-bike-study-develop-campaign-drivers-cyclists-and-pedestrians">find the survey on the city’s website</a>.</p><p> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 15:30:38 +0000 Wells Dunbar 6469 at http://kut.org The Lead: Austin Road Deaths Mount; WilCo Inquiry Continues Charter Schools 'Disappointed' With School Finance Ruling http://kut.org/post/charter-schools-disappointed-school-finance-ruling <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">State district Judge John Dietz's</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;ruling that <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/school-finance-ruling-favors-districts">the Texas school finance system is unconstitutional</a> is being celebrated by many school district administrators, but one group involved the lawsuit is probably not popping champagne bottles tonight: charter school advocates.</span></p><p>“We are disappointed that Judge Dietz ruled against charter school students and their parents, denying them constitutional protections,” <a href="http://www.txcharterschools.org/">Texas Charter Schools Association</a> executive director David Dunn said in a statement. He added, however, that they were pleased with the ruling that the overall education system is inadequate.</p><p> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 01:27:07 +0000 Nathan Bernier 6463 at http://kut.org Charter Schools 'Disappointed' With School Finance Ruling School Finance Ruling Favors Districts http://kut.org/post/school-finance-ruling-favors-districts <p></p> Mon, 04 Feb 2013 22:05:49 +0000 Morgan Smith, Texas Tribune & Elena Schneider, Texas Tribune 6459 at http://kut.org School Finance Ruling Favors Districts The Lead: Ruling Coming in Texas School Finance Trial, Inquiry Begins in Morton Prosecution http://kut.org/post/lead-ruling-coming-texas-school-finance-trial-inquiry-begins-morton-prosecution <p>Good morning. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ewx/">National Weather Service</a>&nbsp;says Austin’s in for another day of slightly-warmer-than-average temperatures today, with light sprinkles this morning.</p><p><strong>Lead Story</strong>: A ruling is set be issued to today on whether the appropriation of state school funds is constitutional.</p><p><a href="http://kutnews.org/post/texas-schools-head-court-finance-lawsuit">Over 600 Texas school districts sued the state</a> after lawmakers slashed public funding and grant programs by $5.4 billion dollars in 2011.</p><p> Mon, 04 Feb 2013 15:02:15 +0000 KUT Staff 6449 at http://kut.org The Lead: Ruling Coming in Texas School Finance Trial, Inquiry Begins in Morton Prosecution Industry Leader: Texas Businesses Can't Find Qualified Applicants http://kut.org/post/industry-leader-texas-businesses-cant-find-qualified-applicants <p><a href="http://www.txbiz.org/">Texas Association of Business</a> president Bill Hammond testified in the ongoing school finance trial yesterday, saying that Texas businesses can’t find applicants that have the academic and professional skills required. Hammond says that the most educated segment of Texas’ workforce is the soon-to-be retired.</p><p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 23:04:13 +0000 Ryland Barton 6254 at http://kut.org Industry Leader: Texas Businesses Can't Find Qualified Applicants How Austin Baby Boomers' Tax Perk Hurts Texas' Bottom Line http://kut.org/post/how-austin-baby-boomers-tax-perk-hurts-texas-bottom-line <p>January usually marks a mad rush to the local tax office to pay property taxes. If you are a homeowner turning 65 years old, you can apply for a property tax exemption from Travis County and for a cap to your school taxes. It's a &nbsp;perk for taxpayers that could affect local school districts.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p>First, it’s important to note that thousands of Austinites will be turning 65 this year. That’s why last May, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell appointed <a href="https://austintexas.granicusideas.com/discussions/the-mayors-task-force-on-aging/topics/challenges">task force on aging</a>. Angela Atwood serves on the task force. She say “aging is the issue of our time and Austin and Central Texas is an epicenter nationally.”</p><p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 11:15:00 +0000 Joy Diaz 6038 at http://kut.org How Austin Baby Boomers' Tax Perk Hurts Texas' Bottom Line Listen: How a Texas Lawsuit Could Change School Finance http://kut.org/post/listen-how-texas-lawsuit-could-change-school-finance <p></p><p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: rgb(59, 59, 60);"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 19px;">http://kut.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/QA-Bernier-Hinojosa-School-Finance-Suit-MIX.mp3</span></p> Fri, 14 Dec 2012 17:21:07 +0000 Nathan Bernier 5915 at http://kut.org Listen: How a Texas Lawsuit Could Change School Finance AISD Superintendent Takes Stand in School Finance Trial http://kut.org/post/aisd-super-takes-stand-school-finance-trial <p>Austin Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen is expected to take the stand again today in the <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/texas-schools-head-court-finance-lawsuit" target="_blank">school finance trial</a>.</p><p>AISD is one of about 600 Texas school districts suing the state. AISD says the state has increased academic requirements, but failed to provide funding to pay for it.</p><p>The Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from public education last year. Tue, 27 Nov 2012 15:37:04 +0000 Laura Rice 5728 at http://kut.org AISD Superintendent Takes Stand in School Finance Trial The Lead: Historic Tax Exemptions, SXSW Takes Vegas, Oil Boom Creates Jobs Across Texas http://kut.org/post/lead-historic-tax-exemptions-sxsw-takes-vegas-oil-boom-creates-jobs-across-texas <p>Good Morning. Once the clouds dissipate, Austin can expect warm weather with a high of 86, according to the National Weather Service. Here are some stories KUT News has been working on:</p><ul><li><a href="http://kutnews.org/post/local-tax-exemptions-center-new-lawsuit" target="_blank">Local Tax Exemptions at Center of New Lawsuit</a></li></ul><blockquote><p>Three Austinites are suing the City of Austin, Travis County, the Austin Independent School District and Central Health for allowing tax breaks on what the plaintiffs refer to as “allegedly” historic properties.</p></blockquote><ul><li><a href="http://kutnews.org/post/mueller-development-keeps-developing" target="_blank">The Mueller Development Keeps on Developing...</a></li></ul><blockquote><p>AMLI Residential, builder of several high profile apartment communities in Austin, has announced it is going to build a mid-rise project in Mueller town center.</p></blockquote><ul><li><a href="http://kut.org/2012/10/south-by-southwest-expands-to-vegas/" target="_blank">South by Southwest Expands to Vegas</a></li></ul><blockquote><p>The popular Austin film, music and interactive festival is rolling out the SXSW V2 festival in Las Vegas in August. Rather than merely being an extension of the music and film events that take place in Austin, SXSW V2 is geared toward tech startups.</p></blockquote><ul><li><a href="http://kut.org/2012/10/gop-decade-costs-shifting-to-cities/" target="_blank">GOP Decade: Costs Shifting to Cities</a></li></ul><blockquote><p>Texas Republicans have made limiting trimming the state budget an integral part of their mission over the last decade, but many worry the state has simply shifted the burden to local governments.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Wed, 24 Oct 2012 14:00:47 +0000 Kelli Ainsworth 5437 at http://kut.org Texas Schools Head to Court in Finance Lawsuit http://kut.org/post/texas-schools-head-court-finance-lawsuit <p>Opening arguments begin today in a school finance lawsuit pitting about 600 school districts, including the Austin Independent School District, against the State of Texas. The legal battle could reshape how money is distributed to classrooms.</p><p>The way schools are currently funded in Texas is an intensely complicated set of mathematical formulas that even experts sometimes struggle with. Without wading too deeply into the Texas Education Code, here’s what you need to know about the school finance lawsuit getting started today:</p><ul><li>There are actually <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/public-education/an-updated-guide-to-texas-school-finance-lawsuits/" target="_blank">six different suits</a>.</li><li>They’ve all been merged into one.</li><li>One of the largest lawsuits was brought by more than 400 low- and middle-income school districts under the <a href="http://www.equitycenter.org/">Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition</a>.&nbsp; Mon, 22 Oct 2012 14:35:12 +0000 Nathan Bernier 5410 at http://kut.org Texas Schools Head to Court in Finance Lawsuit City Council Considers Same-Sex Marriage Resolution http://kut.org/post/city-council-considers-same-sex-marriage-resolution <p>The Austin City Council is scheduled to discuss a few hot-button issues at <a href="http://austin.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=303&amp;doctype=agenda" target="_blank">its work session today</a>.</p><p>Council members will <a href="http://austin.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/cache/2/kbfwbifgbkbtwt45us4rwxjx/32587109252012075735397.PDF" target="_blank">discuss a resolution</a> that would declare the City Council’s intent to support what the agenda refers to as “marriage equality” or <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/mayor-leffingwell-speaks-out-support-gay-marriage" target="_blank">same-sex marriage</a> in the state.</p><p>The council will also consider filing a legal document that shows their support for area school districts who have filed school finance lawsuits in Travis County.</p><p>Council members will also consider a request to the city manager to seek more information on two types of salamanders that <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/feds-propose-designating-four-more-endangered-salamanders" target="_blank">could be placed on the Endangered Species list</a>.</p><p> Tue, 25 Sep 2012 14:38:14 +0000 Laura Rice 5152 at http://kut.org City Council Considers Same-Sex Marriage Resolution AM Update: New Hispanic Population Stats, Dead Voter Purge Delay, Cost-Effective School Spending http://kut.org/post/am-update-new-hispanic-population-stats-dead-voter-purge-delay-cost-effective-school-spending <p>The <a href="http://www.cleanairforce.org/" target="_blank">Clean Air Force of Central Texas</a> is forecasting <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/ozone-watch-sees-central-texas-nearing-non-compliance" target="_blank">another ozone day</a>. The group is predicting an "unhealthy" or Orange Level day. Here is a roundup of some stories making news this morning:</p><p><strong>Austin Home to Country's 20<sup>th</sup> Largest Metropolitan Hispanic Population </strong></p><p>A new <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/09/19/characteristics-of-the-60-largest-metropolitan-areas-by-hispanic-population/">report</a> by the <a href="http://pewresearch.org/">Pew Research Center</a> shows the nation's Hispanic population is fairly concentrated. The report analyzed census data from the 2010 American Community Survey. It found "nearly half (45 percent) of the nation’s Hispanic population lives in just 10 metropolitan areas."</p><p>Four Texas metropolitans are home to some of the nation's largest Hispanic populations. Houston ranks #2, Dallas-Fort Worth is #6, San Antonio ranks #9 and Austin comes in at #20.</p><p>According to the ACS data, Austin has a Hispanic population of 502,000, which makes up 31 percent of the city's total population. Hispanics make up an even larger portion of Austin's younger population. Among Austinites under 18 years old, 42.3 percent are Hispanic. More than a quarter (28.9 percent) of Austin's Hispanic population were born outside of the United States.</p><p>Of the 60 metropolitan areas with the largest Hispanic populations, two areas have Hispanic populations that make up more than 90 percent of residents: Laredo (#36 on the list) is 96 percent Hispanic, McAllen (#13) is 91 percent Hispanic.</p><p><strong>Delay in Dead Voter Purge</strong></p><p><span>State District Judge Tom Sulak has </span><a href="http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-09-19/texas-judge-bars-state-from-ordering-country-voter-purges">temporarily prevented</a><span> Texas from ordering counties to purge possibly dead voters from their registration rolls.</span> Fri, 21 Sep 2012 13:44:10 +0000 Tyler Pratt, David Muto, Texas Tribune & Laura Rice 5122 at http://kut.org AM Update: New Hispanic Population Stats, Dead Voter Purge Delay, Cost-Effective School Spending Analyst: School Choice Grant Program Could Save Texas Billions http://kut.org/post/analyst-school-choice-grant-program-could-save-texas-billions <p>The Texas Senate Committee on Education today <a href="http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/schedules/html/C5302012082409001.HTM" target="_blank">talked about possible funding options</a> to promote school choice.</p><p>Lawmakers want to know if having more school options will create competition and, in turn, <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/most-central-texas-school-districts-fail-federal-standards" target="_blank">make all schools in the state better</a>. One option to encourage school choice is a so-called taxpayer savings grant program. The idea was proposed in the Texas Legislature last year as part of House Bill 33. It would pay up to 60 percent of the amount that <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/texas-ranked-41st-student-spending" target="_blank">the state spends per pupil each year </a>on school maintenance and operations for private school tuition – that’d be about $5,200.</p><p>Joe Bast is the <a href="http://heartland.org/joseph-bast" target="_blank">President and CEO of the Heartland Institute</a> – a non-profit research center based in Chicago. He looked at the numbers and believes many Texas families would take advantage of the option and that it would save taxpayers a big chuck of money right away. Fri, 24 Aug 2012 17:42:30 +0000 Laura Rice 4947 at http://kut.org Analyst: School Choice Grant Program Could Save Texas Billions AM Update: Texas Can Deny Funding to Planned Parenthood, Group Joins School Funding Suit, ACT Scores http://kut.org/post/am-update-texas-can-deny-funding-planned-parenthood-group-joins-school-funding-suit-act-scores <p><strong>Planned Parenthood</strong></p><p>A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that Texas can stop funding Planned Parenthood under the state’s <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/filling-30-million-gap-texas-women%E2%80%99s-health-program" target="_blank">Women’s Health Program</a> – at least until a full trial in October.</p><p>Planned Parenthood had obtained an injunction that prevented the state from cutting off funding before the trial. But the three-judge panel lifted the injunction.</p><p>After the ruling, Governor Rick Perry <a href="http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/17568/" target="_blank">released a statement</a> that said, in part:</p><blockquote><p>“The 5th Circuit’s decision is a win for Texas women, our rule of law and our state’s priority to protect life. We will continue to work with Attorney General Abbott in the fight to defend our state laws.” Wed, 22 Aug 2012 13:56:30 +0000 Laura Rice 4929 at http://kut.org AM Update: Texas Can Deny Funding to Planned Parenthood, Group Joins School Funding Suit, ACT Scores