AP State News
July 20, 2005
Here's a look at major dates in Texas' school finance battle:
_ 1989: The Texas Supreme Court throws out the state's school funding law after finding "glaring disparities" between rich and poor school districts. The high court later rules two other Texas school funding plans unconstitutional in the early 1990s.
_ 1993: Days before a court-imposed deadline threatened to close Texas schools, the Legislature forces property-rich school districts to share some wealth with poorer ones.
_ 1995: The Texas Supreme Court upholds the share-the-wealth system, sometimes called "Robin Hood."
_ 2001: Then-acting Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, who as a state senator authored the "Robin Hood" funding plan, says it needs review and possible change.
_ 2003: Attorneys for property-wealthy school districts argue before the Texas Supreme Court that Robin Hood has created an illegal statewide property tax after many districts have pushed collections to the legal limit.
_ April 20, 2004: The Legislature meets in a special session called by Republican Gov. Rick Perry to address school finance. The session ends two days early when lawmakers fail to pass a new plan.
_ Sept. 15, 2004: After a trial brought by 300 districts, both rich and poor, a judge rules the education funding system unconstitutional and threatens to order the state to halt school spending in October 2005. Following the judge's written ruling in late November, the state appeals to the Texas Supreme Court.
_ Jan. 11, 2005: Legislature convenes in regular session and Perry declares education funding an "emergency." Lawmakers fail to pass a new system before session expires May 30.
_ June 18: Perry vetoes $35 billion in education spending, forcing lawmakers into 30-day special session.
_ June 21: Special session begins.
_ July 6: Attorneys for hundreds of school districts tell Texas Supreme Court justices in oral arguments the state has abdicated its obligation to educate its children. State lawyers argue the Legislature _ not the courts _ should repair Texas' education finance system. The court does not immediately rule.
_ July 19: Lawmakers tout their progress on an education spending plan but acknowledge defeat in this special session of an accompanying bill to reduce property taxes. Gov. Rick Perry says he'll call legislators back for another session as soon as Thursday if they don't pass a school finance plan.