Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

February 5, 2013

Local ISDs chime in on ruling

District judge rules in favor of coalition, including several Henderson County school districts

Athens — Several Henderson County school districts were party to a lawsuit brought by the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition and others against the state of Texas, concerning its method of school funding.

The 200th District Court Judge John Dietz of Travis County ruled in favor of the coalition on Monday, stating that the school finance system violates the efficiency provisions of Article VII of the Texas Constitution, and fails to provide substantially-equal access to the revenues necessary to provide a general diffusion of knowledge.

The Athens Independent School District, Eustace ISD, Kemp ISD and Mabank ISD are members of the plaintiff group that filed suit in October 2011. About 40 percent of the state’s school districts are in the TTASFC. Malakoff ISD is a member of the Texas School Coalition, which has 89 members. The remainder of the Henderson County school districts were not involved in the suit.

Eustace ISD Superintendent Coy Holcomb reported the court’s decision on the EISD website. Holcomb stated that, “Overall, the ruling is almost exactly what the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition argued. While this ruling is a first step, it is anticipated that the state will appeal the rulings to the Texas Supreme Court.”

The Supreme Court could rule on the case by October, Holcomb said.

In his ruling from the bench, Dietz quoted the Constitution, saying, “A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish suitable provision for the support, and maintenance of an efficient system of free public schools.”

The Taxpayer Coalition suit was filed in October 2011.  Plaintiffs had hoped the Legislature would address the school funding system during its 2011 legislative session. Facing a $27 billion budget shortfall, lawmakers instead approved $4 billion in cuts to schools in June, the first decrease in per-student spending in Texas since World War II.

After more than three months of testimony, Dietz held that “the Texas public school finance system is arbitrary, inequitable and inadequate under the Texas Constitution, and that low-wealth school districts lack local control over their tax rates.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-25 Sanders_Kendall.jpg Sanders suspended indefinitely

    Two University of Texas football players were arrested and charged Thursday with felony sexual assault after a female student said she was raped in a campus dorm room last month.
    Wide receivers Kendall Sanders, of Athens, and Montrel Meander were arrested and later released on personal recognizance bonds. According to an arrest affidavit, Sanders and Meander texted each other during earlier interviews with police to "get their story straight" and Sanders also faces a charge of improper photography tied to the alleged assault on June 21.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25 tree down college st. 1.JPG Thunderstorms take their toll on counties

    A line of thunderstorms rolled through Henderson County on Wednesday, snapping tree branches and power lines along the way.
    The winds that accompanied the storm resulted in thousands of people in North Texas without electricity and roads broken by falling trees or debris.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Council considering Burton's severance package

    The Athens City Council, by a 3-to-2 vote, tabled a budget adjustment on Wednesday to fund a severance package for City Administrator Pam Burton who’s stepping down at the end of the year.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Eustace ISD approves tax rates

    The Eustace Independent School District Board of Trustees held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday in the Eustace High School Library.
    Several reports and agenda items were considered by the board, and all were passed or approved. Board Secretary Ashley McKee was absent.
    The board was presented with the superintendent's reports on revenue, expenditures, payroll and taxes.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif TxDOT signs at issue in county

    It turns out Texas counties will not be picking up the cost of Advance County Road signs as the Texas Department of Transportation had stated earlier this year.
    TxDOT informed Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders recently that it has reversed its decision to change its policy regarding maintenance of the signs installed to aid approaching traffic to identify an upcoming county road intersection.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Free meals for schools in Malakoff, Tool

    The Malakoff Independent School District has been approved to provide free breakfast and lunch for Malakoff Elementary, Tool Elementary and Malakoff Middle School.
    Those schools did meet or exceed the 40-percent requirement to participate in the program.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • • DSC_0162.JPG Ramps for handicapped

    Encino Landscaping is doing a necessary job for the Texas Department of Transportation Tyler District. All four corners of the block upon which the Henderson County Courthouse rests are being converted to better serve handicapped pedestrians.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Appearance and operation of Splash Pad upgraded

    The Splash Pad at Athens Kiwanis Park has been closed this week, as work is being done that will upgrade the appearance of the surroundings and operation of the facility.
    The pad is now well into its first full summer of operation, and has proven to be a popular spot for youngsters in the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif GBC official asked to resign

    Gun Barrel City resident Carroll Strickland asked Councilman Marty Goss “to do the right thing and resign.”
    Strickland spoke to the GBC council during the citizen's comment portion of the Tuesday evening’s council meeting. Strickland  accused Goss of trying to take over the GBC Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
    In a prepared statement, Strickland said,  “Marty is doing harm to the city's reputation. I am asking the mayor and the city council to do something about the situation.”

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Nutt says being part of task force has really paid off

    Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt reports that being a part of the Drug Enforcement Task Force in Tyler has paid off in a big way with the arrest of two major drug distributors.
    On May 13, following an investigation initiated in January by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigators, Uleyses Roberts, 45, and Dijon Howard, 25, were arrested by a task force of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The men were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo