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Original Petition and Request for Declaratory Judgment

Original Petition and Request for Declaratory Judgment

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Published by: jmartin4800 on Nov 17, 2011
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11/17/2011

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Filed
11
October
10
P6:42
Amalia
Rodriguez-Mendoza
Distzict
Clerk
Travis
Distiict
D-1-GN-11-003130
CAUSENO.?’l’(.1t.
OOI3O
THE
TEXAS
TAXPAYER
&
STUDENT
§
IN
THE
DISTRICT
COURT
FAIRNESS
COALITION;
§
HILLSBORO,
LS.D.,HUTTOI.S.D.,
§
NACOGDOCNES
I.S.D.,
PFLUGERVILLE
I.S.D.,
§
SAN
ANTONIO
I.S.D.,
TAYLOR
I.S.D.,
§
VANI.S.D.;RANDY
PITI’ENGER;
§
CHIP
LANGSTON;
and
§
SHELBY
DAVIDSON,
§
AS
NEXTFRIEND
OF
CORTLAND,
§
CARLI
ANDCASIDAVIDSON,
§
§
Plaintiffs
§
§
vs.
§
P
JUDICIAL
DISTRICT
§
ROBERT
SCOTT,
COMMISSIONER
§
OF
EDUCATION,
IN
HIS
OFFICIAL
§
CAPACITY;SUSAN
COMBS,
§
TEXAS
COMPTROLLER
OF
PUBLIC
§
ACCOUNTS,
IN
HEROFFICIAL
§
CAPACITY;
TEXAS
STATE
BOARD
§
OF
EDUCATION,
§§
Defendants.
§
TRAVISCOUNTY,
TEXAS
PLAINTIFFS’ORIGINALPETITION
AND
REOUEST
FOR
DECLARATORY
JUDGMENT
NOWCOME
Plaintiffs
and
bring
thisOriginal
Petition
and
Request
for
Declaratory
Judgment
and
would
showthe
Court
as
follows:
DISCOVERYLEVEL
1.
Discovery
will
proceed
under
level
3
of
theTex.R.Civ.P.
190.
PARTIES
2.
Plaintiff,THE
TEXAS
TAXPAYER
AN])
STUDENTFAIRNESS
COALITION
isa
Texas
Non-profit
composedof
schooldistricts,students,
parents,
and
businesses
in
Texas
directly
affected
by
the
schoolfinance
system.
Plaintiffs
Original
Petitionand
Requestfor
Declaratory
JudgmentPage
1
of
15
 
3.
Plaintiff,HUTTO
I.S.D.,NACOGDOCHESLS.D.,
PFLUGERVILLE
LS.D.,
SAN
ANTONIO
I.S.D.,TAYLOR
LS.D.,
and
VAN
I.S.D.
are
schooldistricts
in
Texas
whoare
funded
through
theschoolfinancesystem.
4.
Plaintiff,
RANDY
PITTENGERowns
property
in
the
BeltonIndependentSchool
District
and
pays
property
taxes
inthedistrict.
His
children
areno
longer
in
the
district
schools.
5.
Plaintiff,CHIPLANGSTONownsproperty
in
theKaufmanIndependentSchoolDistrict
and
paysproperty
taxes
in
thedistrict.
6.
Plaintiff,SHELBYDAVIDSON
is
a
parent
of
Cortland,
Carli
and
Casi
Davidson
who
are
students
in
the
Van
I.S.D.,
andbringsthis
in
his
individualcapacity
and
as
next
friend
of
CortlandDavidson,
CarliDavidson,and
Casi
Davidson.
Cortland
Davidson
is
a
junior
highstudent,
and
Carli
and
Casi
are
elementary
school
students.
7.
Defendant,
ROBERT
SCOTT
is
theTexas
Commissioner
of
Education
andcan
be
served
at
1701
N.
Congress
Avenue,Austin,Texas78701.
8.
Defendant,
SUSAN
COMBS
is
theTexas
Comptroller
of
Public
Accounts
and
can
beserved
at
111
East
17
h
Street,
Austin,Texas78774.
9.
Defendant,
THE
STATE
BOARD
OF
EDUCATION
isan
elected
body
that
sets
policyforthe
TexasEducation
Agency.Itmay
be
served
throughits
chairwoman,
Barbara
Cargill,
at
1701
N.
CongressAve.,Austin,
Texas
78701.
INTRODUCTION
Before
the
82”
Legislature
convened
in
January
of
2011,Texas’
funding
for
public
education
hadalready
become
an
arbitrary
hodge-podge
of
approaches
rather
than
a
coherent
system.
This
hodge-podge,
built
around
a
hold-harmless
schemeadopted
in
2006
called
“Target
Revenue,”
resulted
in
huge
differences
in
yieldsfor
similar
tax
effort
thatgave
property-wealthy
districts
unconstitutionally
greateraccess
to
educational
dollars.This
constitutional
inefficiency
was
compounded
in2011by
SB
1
passed
bythe
82T
Legislature
which
reduced
school
funding
formulas
by
$4
billion
dollars
in
addition
to
othercuts
in
excess
of
$1
billion.
In
FY
2012,
SB1
makes
across-the-board
percentagereductions
to
districts’
regular
program
funding.
These
losses
in
already
low-funded
districtshave
a
harsherimpact
thansimilar
Cuts
to
a
muchhigher
Plaintiffs
Original
Petitionand
Request
forDeclaratory
Judgment
Page
2
of
15
 
funded
district.
In
FY20
13,
SB
1
cuts
more
from
districtswithTargetRevenue,
but
limitstheirlosses
so
that
they
will
still
have
greater
resources
than
thelowerwealthdistricts.
Taxpayers
in
lowwealthdistrictswho
are
willing
totax
themselves
at
the
highest
rates
allowedare
unable
toaccess
thesame
dollars
for
education
as
taxpayers
in
highwealthdistrictswhotax
themselves
at
a
lower
rate.
Nacogdoches
ISDadoptedthe
$1.17
maximum
M&O
tax
rate
in
2010-11,
earning
$5,487
perWADA,at
the
sametimethatEanesISD
adopted
$1.04
tax
rateand
received
$6,881.
In
returnfor
a
13
centhigher
taxratepaidby
Nacogdoches
ISD
taxpayers,
the
statefundingsystem
rewarded
Nacogdochesschoolchildrenwithover
$10,000,000
fewer
dollarsthantheywouldhave
had
attheEanesfunding
level.In
2010-11,
at
$1.00taxrate
in
Tier
1,
Austin
I.S.D.
with
approximately100,000
WADA
was
funded
at
$6,100
perWADA
and
Fort
Worth
I.S.D.
at
thesame
taxratewithsimilar
WADA
was
funded
at
$5,100
per
WADA,
an
overall
funding
gap
of
$1,000
per
WADA.This
difference
infunding
provides
Austin
I.S.D.
with$100
million
per
yearmorethanthesame
tax
effortmakes
available
to
FortWorth
I.S.D.
Over
200
schooldistricts
in
Texas
adopted
anM&
0
tax
rate
at
the
$1.17
taxcap
in
2010-11
andwill
not
beable
to
rebound
from
the
2011
failure
tofund.
Additionally
the
lackof
state
funding
will
push
moredistricts
to
the
cap.
TIlE
PUBLICSCHOOLFINANCESYSTEM
IS
UNCONSTITUTIONAL
TaxpayerEquity:
AsJustice
Hecht
noted
inhis2005
opinion“citizens
who
werewillingto
shoulder
similar
tax
burdens,should
have
similar
access
to
revenuesforeducation.”
West
Orange
Cove
v.
Neely,
176
S.W.3d
at
757
(Tex.
2005)
(West
Orange
Cove
II)
(citing
Carroilton-Fanners
Branch
I.S.D.
v.
Edgewood
I.S.D.,826
S.W.2d489,
497
(Tex.
1992)
(EdgewoodIII).Indeed,
article
Vifi,
§
Plaintiffs
Original
Petition
and
Request
forDeclaratory
JudgmentPage
3
of
15

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