While Dietz's ruling appears as a big win for public schools and the children of Texas, the case will go to the State Supreme Court.
“Judge Dietz's decision on the school lawsuit is a welcome first step in trying to achieve equity and adequacy in our school funding system,” Mineral Wells ISD Superintendent Gail Haterius said Tuesday. “We need adequate funding to teach all children well.”
On Tuesday, one day after the ruling, close to 50 Mineral Wells citizens gathered to hear about the state of Texas public education and why it's important to address adequacy and equality sooner than later.
Linda Ethridge, a former educator and mayor of Waco, and Bonnie Lesley, an educator, school administrator and an educational consultant, together formed “Texas Kids Can't Wait.” They spoke to Tuesday's local audience, addressing their concerns for Texas schools and students, by first explaining why kids can't wait.
“You are only a kid once and kids have dreams and they can't wait for adults to figure it out,” Lesley said about the situation of public schools in Texas.
“Education is a bipartisan thing,” she said, adding that Texans care about children and want the best for them.
But in the 2011 funding cycle, the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from public school funding – which prompted the lawsuit Dietz ruled on, Lesley explained. She said that in the budget-cutting process, the Legislature, for the first time, did not fund new growth in schools, yet the Texas public school system is growing at an average of 80,000 students per year.
“There's never been a time when public education needed defending [more] than now,” Ethridge told Tuesday's audience, urging everyone in attendance to call their state legislators and State Board of Education representative, Sue Melton.