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Four school districts led by West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District (West Orange-Cove) appeal the dismissal of their action seeking a declaratory judgment that the present school finance system is unconstitutional. *fn1 The interested parties include Felipe Alanis, *fn2 Commissioner of Education, the Texas Education Agency, the Comptroller of Public Accounts, and the Texas State Board of Education (collectively “the State”), and two groups of intervening school districts, collectively the Alvarado intervenors and the Edgewood intervenors, who are generally aligned with the State. We will affirm the judgment of the trial court.


The current educational financing system was crafted in response to several federal and state constitutional challenges to the long-standing school financing plan and to the initial attempts to correct the identified constitutional infirmities. The first attacks were brought in federal court; *fn3 ultimately, however, the challenges have been pursued through the state courts. In 1989, the Texas Supreme Court held the school finance system unconstitutional because it violated the following constitutional mandate: “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.” Edgewood Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Kirby, 777 S.W.2d 391, 393 (Tex. 1989) (Edgewood I) (citing Tex. Const. art. VII, � 1). The basis of the court’s holding were the gross disparities among the schools throughout the state caused by the system’s heavy reliance on local property taxes to provide educational funds. Id. at 392-93. At the time of the Edgewood I decision, local ad valorem taxes accounted for half of all available educational funds. Id. at 392. *fn4 As the amount of revenue that can be raised by property taxes depends on the property wealth within each district, there were staggering differences between the state’s poorest and wealthiest districts. Id.

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