Sunday, October 02, 2005

Abilene Reporter News: State

Abilene Reporter News: State: "Texas schools will be open for business Monday, despite a judge's order that the state stop funding public schools by Saturday if the finance system isn't fixed first.

State district Judge John Dietz last autumn ruled the Texas school funding system unconstitutional and issued an Oct. 1 deadline for the Legislature to fix the system or stop funding it.

Lawmakers have since failed three times - once during the regular legislative session and in two failed special sessions called for the issue - to overhaul the way Texas pays for public schools.

The state, represented by the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, has appealed Dietz's ruling to the Texas Supreme Court. The state's high court is expected to issue a decision in the case within the coming weeks, but it wasn't in the court's Friday package of decisions.

Even so, schools receive their funding from the state on the 25th of each month, meaning schools are funded at least until Oct. 25, said Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

''They've just gotten their payments,'' she said. ''Schools will be open in most parts of Texas - the guys that didn't have hurricane damage will be open.''"


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