LISD Files Lawsuit Against State of Texas - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/13/03

LISD Files Lawsuit Against State of Texas

LISD joins dozens of school districts to sue the state of Texas. "They're coming together to say hey we have a very serious problem with school financing in the state of Texas that must be addressed if we're going to continue with the quality and expectations that we see within our district," says LISD Superintendent Wayne Havens.

The school board says they had no other choice but to file the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Texas's school finance system. LISD has maxed out local property tax rates to $1.50 per $100. And soon, the only option would be to cut jobs and school programs.

"If nothing happens and those requirements that we're under continue to grow draining our continue to grow draining our financial resources the we will be looking at cutting more positions more programs," says Havens.

"What we're trying to do is reverse that pattern," says State Representative Carl Isett. He says school funding will be number one on the agenda in a special legislative session, set for April.

Isett will head the subcommittee of school finance, making this lawsuit a priority. "Obviously there are two components how we're going to tax if we move away from a property tax intensive tax to some other kind of tax what would that tax be? And how do we address money the school districts get to give to every child in Texas the best education possible."

Isett says the solution is simple, the state of Texas must pay more. "The state will pick up more of the share of education and I suspect it will be more money in total so we will relieve the property tax burden on home owners and pick that up from the state," said Isett.

Isett adds that the Robin Hood school legislation, where richer schools are forced to give money to poorer schools will also be done away with completely. In the past the state provided at least 52% of funding to schools, now that number has dropped to 38% causing the taxpayer to make up the difference.

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