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Edgewood Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Scott

On December 12, 2011, MALDEF announced the filing of a major education funding lawsuit against the State of Texas. Edgewood was the school district at the center of MALDEF’s first landmark school finance case, Edgewood v. Kirby, in the 1980s, and MALDEF returned to represent them along with two other districts and three parents individually and on behalf of their minor children. They challenged the constitutionality of the Texas public school finance system. The Texas Constitution’s “Education Clause” mandates that “a general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools,” and the plaintiff’s declared that the current public school finance system was both financially and quantitatively inefficient.

MALDEF noted that since the passage of House Bill 1 in 2006, the Texas Legislature has continued to ratchet up accountability and curriculum standards for individual students and school districts without providing an efficient public school finance system. As a result, Texas has an arbitrary finance system which has increased the inequity for low-wealth school districts compared to higher-wealth school districts. The plaintiffs also criticized the arbitrary and inadequate funding for low income and English Language Learner students as well as the overall insufficient funding for poor school districts which has prevented school districts from exercising meaningful local control and forcing them to make cuts to their educational programs. Laid out by MALDEF, this was the first statewide adequacy claim made on behalf of low income and English Language Learner children. The case is currently in trial.