The Commerce Journal


February 18, 2013

Will legislature move forward on school equity issue?

COMMERCE — The first phase of the School Finance Lawsuit wrapped up last Monday and we will now wait to see which court it will go to on appeal.  Here are a few basic facts about the reasons for the lawsuit that five different plaintiff groups, along with one intervener group, felt compelled to file against the Texas Education Agency.

Whether you live in a property wealthy school district or a property -poor school district, one thing everybody can agree on is that the way the state funds public schools needs to change. The Honorable John Dietz’s ruling in the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition et al. vs. Michael Williams, Texas Education Agency, et al. school finance case was issued in the following order.

The Texas school finance system is:

1. Inequitable and inefficient

2. Inadequate and unsuitable

3. Statewide de facto property tax

You have heard me speak on many occasions about the inequity in our public school educational finance system. Judge Dietz’s ruling confirms this argument.

However, it is almost assured that Texas’ Attorney General, Greg Abbott, will appeal this ruling. The question is to which court? Will it go to the appellate court or straight to the state Supreme Court? If it goes to the appellate court, this could stretch out the final decision past the next gubernatorial election. Either way, it will probably be a year before we get to a final decision.

What does this mean while we are waiting? It means we will go on with business as usual. However, the state legislature has to decide whether to move forward before there is a final decision. The problem is that the legislature must figure out how to pay for the deficit they have from the last session.  This means another year of inequity in funding and our students having the same expectations with less state money than almost three-fourths of the schools in the state.

Speaker Joe Straus said that the House plans to move forward on several aspects of school finance this session.

“The Speaker believes that the House should first fulfill its current obligations by paying $1.75 billion to move a Foundation School Program payment back into the current biennium,” Straus spokesman Jason Embry said. “Once that obligation is met, he believes the Appropriations Committee should consider strategic increases in education funding beyond the $2.2 billion increase in the introduced budget to cover the cost of enrollment growth. The House is also moving forward with other legislation to improve education by reforming the state accountability system and giving students more options to better prepare for higher education and the workforce.”

In regard to testing and accountability, that will be discussed later. Until then, please let our State Representative Dan Flynn and State Senator Bob Deuell hear from you. I know they want to hear your concerns.

Until next week: Go Tigers!

Cooper serves as superintendant of Commerce Independent School District.

Text Only
  • This is ‘Our Commerce’

    Commerce, Texas is a unique community in north east Texas and yet in some ways very typical.

    June 26, 2014

  • IMG_2998.JPG Lions reveal true character

    Character is revealed during times of success and times of tragedy. Texas A&M University-Commerce, and specifically the Athletics Department, showed its character last week when two student-athletes were tragically killed in a car accident.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Father's_Day_1.jpg A short history of Father's Day

    There are more than 70 million fathers in the United States today. 

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judging pianists

    “The Van Cliburn Competition is the most important piano competition in the world,” says John Giordano of Fort Worth, who was chairman of the Van Cliburn jury for 40 years.

    June 10, 2014

  • Junk.jpg Enough with the junk

    Let’s play a game.

    May 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lessons learned from decades of making speeches

    I’ve been making speeches to various groups since 1973 when I made my first chamber of commerce speech in Dumas, Texas.

    May 27, 2014

  • Yard full of turtles

    Barbara Ellison of Cameron loves her backyard. It is full of flowers and birds. Occasionally a squirrel will drop in for a meal. “I could stay out here from morning ‘til night,” says Barbara. “It’s so pretty and we enjoy taking care of it.”

    May 13, 2014

  • Mapping Texas’ rocks

    Jim Runge of Eldorado is always doing unusual things.

    April 28, 2014

  • Motel a real winner

    I traveled to Kingsville to do some filming and interviewing on King Ranch.

    April 17, 2014

  • Fighting more than just fires

    For the past few weeks I’ve been attending a Citizen’s Fire Academy hosted by the Greenville Fire Department. 

    April 4, 2014

Featured Ads


How many games do you think the Lions will win in 2014?

7-9 wins
4-6 wins
1-3 wins
     View Results
Must Read
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide