Lubbock ISD joins lawsuit to fight state budget cuts
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Lubbock Independent School District announced Monday they will join the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition in an equity lawsuit against the state.
Simply put, LISD is receiving less money per student because they are one of the poorest districts, and LISD claims that is unfair.
LISD officials say the district currently receives $4,600 per student, where as Austin districts receive nearly $6,500 per student. Now they are joining 300 other Texas Schools and taking their case to the courtroom.
"We remain constant in the 2005-2006 school year in terms of revenue. This past legislative session we were cut well over $13, almost $14 million dollars," said LISD Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza.
LISD says with those cuts from Austin, standards increased. For instance, The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Test will now be replaced with the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness or STAAR test. LISD says that requires students to have more math and science with less money.
"It's largely contingent upon the legislature that eventually needs to fix some of the challenges and the issue in the ways schools are funded in the state of Texas," said Garza.
The lawsuit will cost the district around $32,000. LISD says if they win they will be reimbursed.
"That's less than a beginning teachers salary. We believe that we must take a stand on this issue. It's important that for our school district," said Garza.
The key issues the district and others are arguing include the lack of adequate funding for education, statewide mandates that have resulted in a statewide property tax and an unfair formula to determine how much money each student receives.
Garza said "We don't have the ability to raise additional resources locally".
This is not the first time LISD has entered a lawsuit. IN 2001, they joined the West-Orange-Cove Consolidated ISD suit. In 2005 the Supreme Court ruled, a year later the legislature made changes to the school financial system.
There are still a lot of questions like how much will each district receive and what will change? LISD says this process could take years.
"We may be a year away, at least six months away from being considered in district court in Travis County. Whether they expedite it and speed it up to the Supreme Court is up to the state," said Garza.
LISD expects several other districts in Lubbock County to join this or a similar lawsuit in the coming weeks.
Three other lawsuits are expected to be filed.
Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11.