Last fall and winter, students, taxpayers, and over 500 Texas school districts sued the state in four separate litigations that challenged recent budget cuts and the inadequacy of education funding in the state. Now, a group of parents, students, and tax-payers, who call themselves the “efficiency intervenors” has made a motion to intervene in one of these cases, Fort Bend Ind’t Sch Dist v. Scott. They seek a declaratory judgment that the current public education system is unconstitutional “in that it is not efficient in providing for [a] general diffusion of knowledge.’” Plea in Intervention of Efficiency Intervenors.
The would-be intervenors cite a statement from the state Supreme Court’s West-Cove litigation, 176 S.W. 3d at 793, which said “More money allocated under the present system would reduce some of the existing disparities between districts but would at best only postpone the reform that is necessary to make the system efficient.” They claim that despite the state supreme court’s call for considering efficiency, the issue of qualitative efficiency is absent from the pleadings in the recently-filed cases. Citing, among other things, a statutory cap on the number of charter schools, a lack of expertise in the Texas Education agency to develop systems for financial accountability, and statutory limitations on schools districts’ ability to hire effective teachers and remove poorly performing ones, they ask the court to rule that “the entire system of public free schools in inefficient and therefore unconstitutional.”