Facilities Funding Disparities Survive Judicial Review

The Edgewood defendants, led by MALDEF attorneys, had emphasized
inequities in facilities funding as a glaring example of
‘constitutional inefficiency’ in the structure of Texas
education. But the court refused to isolate the problem of
facilities from overall funding equity, and then argued that raw
disparities in existing facilities could not meet the burden of proof.

Despite poor facilities, Edgwood and Alvarado plaintiffs (with only one
exception) were maintaining their accreditation, said the court, so the
educational impact of poor buildings was not so obvious. Without
a stronger connection being argued between poor facilities and poor
education, the court said it had not enough evidence to rule
inequitable facilities unconstitutional. Twenty five percent of
the state’s districts were not even charging facilities taxes.

The State defendants also argue that to prove constitutional
inefficiency the intervenors must offer evidence of an inability to
provide for a general diffusion of knowledge without additional
facilities, and that they have failed to do so. Again, we agree.
Efficiency requires only substantially equal access to revenue for
facilities necessary for an adequate system.

The slideshows of cracked walls and ceilings that were so
compelling to view in court did not carry much weight within the legal
framework constructed by the Texas Supreme Court.–gm

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