It is all but certain that Attorney General Greg Abbott will appeal Judge Dietz’s school finance ruling. It’s classic Abbott. He has to win, even if he realizes that he is going to lose.
But the Legislature’s treatment of the schools during the 2011 session all but guarantees a loss for Abbott. He may be counting on the conservatism of the Texas Supreme Court to save him, but the Court has tended to side with the schools in previous cases. In any event, it seems like the massive cuts in 2011 are by themselves overwhelming evidence that the school finance system fails to meet the constitutional test of achieving a general diffusion of knowledge. It’s one thing to argue that cuts are necessary; it’s quite another to observe, as the court has done recently, that the school finance system has been backsliding on adequacy in part because of an increase in standards. That is an ominous development: efficiency is already down the drain; adequacy may be strike two.