The Lindale Independent School District board of trustees voted Monday night to join more than 300 school districts in the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition-Equity Center lawsuit filed against the state.
The lawsuit, filed in October, is in response to the Texas legislature’s more than $4 billion cuts to school funding.  The goal of the lawsuit is to push reform for the state’s current funding system in order to begin a new means to fairly distribute resources to districts, adjust for varying costs of educating students of all needs and vary operating costs of districts of different classifications (rural versus urban).  The lawsuit addresses state property tax, adequacy and suitability, student equity, target revenue, tax payer equity and equal protection.
“Lindale ISD, like most districts, wants an efficient and equitable funding system for public schools,” Superintendent Stan Surratt said.  “Lindale ISD is below the state average in terms of revenue per student.  Also, the current funding system designed by the legislature has major issues in adequacy and future capacity. We want to see this changed.”
LISD trustees first examined joining the lawsuit as part of the business discussion at the October 10 meeting.  LISD school board president Brig. Gen. James K. “Red” Brown was not present at Monday night’s meeting but Surratt said Brown had discussed the litigation with the school district’s attorneys and recommended the district participate.  With Gen. Brown’s recommendation, trustees approved the contribution of $1 per Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) for the lawsuit by a vote of 6-0.
Lindale ISD joins several schools from East Texas in the equity lawsuit including Tyler ISD, Bullard ISD and Van ISD. There are currently three school finance lawsuits against the state.
“In the past, most major reform and improvement in school funding has come about due to school districts filing lawsuits in the state.  This is not the first time this has happened.  Our goal is to prompt and motivate legislators to address the funding crisis that schools are facing.”