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Extra Public School Funding May Come From Taxpayers

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A teacher takes questions from his class. (credit: Chris Hondros/Newsmakers)

A teacher takes questions from his class. (credit: Chris Hondros/Newsmakers)

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IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – State district Judge John Dietz of Austin ruled Thursday the state’s funding of public schools is unconstitutional. His ruling states Texas isn’t adequately funding public education or distributing funds evenly among its students.

The ruling will affect how much money is pumped into student’s classrooms. It’s positive news for school districts but the questions remains – will taxpayers foot the bill?

“Hopefully, we’ll get more money from more money coming into the system – and also more of it being distributed to a property poor district,” said Debbie Cabrera with the Irving Independent School District.

She is used to crunching numbers to make the most of a tight budget every year.

“The state has put in less over the course of time,” said Cabrera.

Three years ago, a $12 million dollar cut forced the district to eliminate more than 300 positions and increase class sizes. But, today’s ruling offers hope.

Even property rich districts, such as Highland Park called the ruling “an important step for the school children of Texas.” Thus, opening the door for more local control over how property tax is collected and spent. That is if the state supreme court upholds the ruling…

It’s up to the state legislature to determine where the extra money for education will come from.

“Will it come from sales tax or property taxes? Will it come from fees? Will you have to pay more fees?” asked State Senator Royce West.

Sen. West said he believes some Texans will ultimately have to pay more in taxes, but who… or how much is unclear. But he’s confident the state’s steady economy, will provide a revenue surplus to help fill the gap.

“If you have a Texas economy that’s doing better than many other states – and frankly is the envy of other states… why aren’t we investing in the workforce of the future?”

Republican State Representative Jason Villalba said he fundamentally disagrees with the judge’s opinion. He pointed out that last year the state spent $4 billion dollars on public schools. He has committed to work tirelessly what he considers more common sense solutions.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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