Abbott Visits School District He Fought in Court

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Fort Worth, TX: As Greg Abbott visits a Plano ISD school today it’s unlikely that he will apologize to students for defending school budget cuts and fighting against their school district in court. Plano ISD lost nearly 190 teachers after those cuts were made.

“Greg Abbott’s actions speak louder than his words. While I fought against over $5 billion in unconstitutional budget cuts to our public schools, Greg Abbott wasted taxpayer funds to defend those cuts in court,” said State Senator Wendy Davis. “Greg Abbott has put Texas’ future at risk, and visiting a school is not going to make up for the fact that he fought against Texas students in the courtroom.”

After the state inadequately funded Texas schools, Greg Abbott defended the cuts in court against Plano ISD and more than 100 school districts in North Texas and 600 school districts in the state. Those districts represent about two-thirds of the state’s school districts and about 75 percent of Texas’ five million public school children.

The cuts resulted in the loss of nearly 11,000 teachers statewide. In addition, requests by school districts to exceed class size limits reached an all-time high after the budget cuts, according to the Texas Education Agency.

While Senator Davis has a record of fighting for public schools, Greg Abbott’s only record is defending unconstitutional budget cuts in the courtroom.

Wendy Davis:

Education is Priority #1

Greg Abbott:

Courtroom Not Classroom

Sen. Davis has been a leading voice for stronger, smarter school investment. October 10, 2011: School districts file lawsuit in response to inadequate funding.
Sen. Davis filibustered the $5.4 billion cuts to public schools in 2011. October 2011:  Abbott files state’s answer to the lawsuit.
Sen. Davis was instrumental in getting over $3 billion back into the budget in 2013. August 28, 2012:  Abbott files brief arguing that districts had not proven that they were not adequately funded.
Sen. Davis worked to expanded access to high quality Pre-K. February 4, 2013:  Judge Dietz issued a preliminary ruling that the state has failed to meet constitutional adequacy in school funding.
Sen. Davis worked to improve teacher and administrator quality. February 2013:  Abbott promises to appeal a ruling on unconstitutional funding.
Sen. Davis reduced burdensome testing requirements. June 2013:  Lawyers ask Judge Dietz to reopen evidence in the trial in January.
Sen. Davis worked to increase community involvement in public schools. June 2013:  Judge Dietz sets January 2014 to issue his “final” ruling based on the state’s response.

Background:

· Plano ISD Board of Trustees Joins Lawsuit to Challenge State’s School Finance System: “The district asserts that the current system and level of funding impair the education available to students within the district, as well as the ability of the district to provide adequate education to students.” [Plano ISD News Advocacy]

· Texas faces uphill battle as school finance lawsuit heads to state Supreme Court: “‘Cuts of this magnitude in public education have never happened before in Texas,’ said Dallas lawyer John Turner, who represents the Frisco, Plano and Richardson districts and 85 others in the current case.” [Dallas Morning News, 2/11/2013]

· After the 2011 budget cuts, Dallas Independent School District approved closing 11 schools. The schools slated to close were: City Park Elementary School; Julia C. Frazier Elementary School; Phillis Wheatley Elementary School; N.W. Harllee Elementary School; Arlington Park Elementary School; James W. Fannin Elementary School; James B. Bonham Elementary School; Oran M. Roberts Elementary School; D.A. Hulcy Middle School; H.S. Thompson Elementary School; Pearl C. Anderson Middle School. [WFAA, 1/26/2012]