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Situating Texas School Finance Policy in a CRT Framework: How ''Substantially Equal'' Yields Racial Inequity
Enrique Alemn, Jr. Educational Administration Quarterly 2007 43: 525 DOI: 10.1177/0013161X07303276 The online version of this article can be found at: Published by:

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Educational Administration Quarterly Vol. 43, No. 5 (December 2007) 525-558

Situating Texas School Finance Policy in a CRT Framework: How Substantially Equal Yields Racial Inequity
Enrique Alemn Jr.
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to conduct a critical race policy analysis of Texas school finance policy. This empirical article examines three chapters of the Texas education code (TEC) and identifies the racial effects that the school funding system has on seven majority-Mexican American school districts. Methodology: Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Latina/o Critical (LatCrit) theoretical frameworks are employed in this article in which race and property are highlighted as concepts central to the analysis. The methodology allows for a critical perspective on history and the racial effects of policy to be outlined. First, a historical analysis of race and racism, schooling, and politics in Texas contextualizes the debate over school finance equity. Second, an analysis of the effects that the school finance system has on communities of color is completed. Analysis and Findings: An examination of primarily 20022003 school finance data, Texas Supreme Court opinions, and TEC indicates that majority-Mexican American school districts are disadvantaged by Texas school finance policy. Whether it is operational, maintenance, or facilities funding, the school finance system institutes inequity. Keywords: Critical Race Theory; policy analysis; school finance; equity

INTRODUCTION On a recent 60 Minutes program, correspondent Leslie Stahl reported on the Texas Top 10% Plan, the states college admissions policy that automatically admits students who rank in the 10% of their high schools graduating class to any of the states public institutions of higher education. The plan has come under legislative attack recently as university enrollment has ballooned, limiting the options of certain powerful and elite constituencies and their children. Put plainly, as the number of automatically accepted
DOI: 10.1177/0013161X07303276 2007 The University Council for Educational Administration

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Educational Administration Quarterly

students has risen, the remaining available slots have dwindled, limiting options for some. Constituents and legislators from majority White, high socioeconomic communities are now lobbying for a legislative revision or repeal of the policy. In her report, Stahl portrayed the plan as an unfair policy, which punishes higher achieving students who attend more rigorous high schools and rewards students from lesser educational backgrounds. The story centered on two students, one of whom was White, who had attended one of the wealthiest school districts in the state, and was denied admission to a state flagship institution because of the cap on enrollment. The other student, a Mexican American, graduated from one of the poorest public school districts in the state, lived in public housing with her family, and was admitted under the admissions policy. Stahls reporting implied that the White student was disadvantaged because she was fortunate enough to attend a high school where Advanced Placement courses were the norm, where fierce student competition resulted in academic rigor, and where students expectations were to attend one of the states premier universities. What Stahl failed to explore, however, was the long historical practice of disadvantaging communities of color and the institutionalization of inequity within the Texas public school system.1 She provided no historical context for the long struggle to provide fair and equitable funding to the states 1,037 school districts (Cardenas, 1997; Farr & Trachtenberg, 1999; San Miguel & Valencia, 1998), and although relative change has occurred, her report lacked an analysis of the racism institutionalized by current Texas school finance policy. Stahls report exemplified much of what is wrong with the practice of and the research conducted in traditional educational policy analysis. It lacked a contextual analysis of historically racist practices, ignored the power dynamics that disadvantage communities of color, and failed to insert a critical analysis of the winners and losers of a given policy. Furthermore, the report failed to link the funding inequities in the public school system to academic readiness and access at the higher education level. In this article, I initiate a discussion of how Texas public school finance policy continues to disadvantage both poor communities and students of color. First, I discuss the study of race and racism and outline the major tenets guiding Critical Race Theory

Authors Note: Please address all correspondence to Enrique Alemn, Jr., University of Utah, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, 1705 E. Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 85112; phone: (801) 585-5097; e-mail:

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(CRT), describing the advantages of utilizing this framework in analyzing school finance policy. Second, I conduct a brief historical analysis of Texas school finance policy, highlighting how race and the loss of property formulated the school funding system early in Texas history. Finally, I provide a policy analysis of three chapters of the Texas education code (TEC), demonstrating how school finance policy institutes a racial hierarchy among the states school districts. CRITICAL RACE EPISTEMOLOGY AND METHOD In this article, I employ a critical race epistemology and methodology, which allows for analysis of educational policy by contextualizing history, inserting an understanding of Latina/o community struggle, and an interrogation of state statute. This section delineates CRT and Latina/o Critical (LatCrit) Theory frameworks that were utilized to conduct the study and complete the analysis. These perspectives are not used separately; rather they are used as complementary frameworks in the analysis of school finance policy and their effects on majority-Mexican American school districts. CRITICAL RACE THEORY A CRT perspective situates school funding inequity as a political, social, and historical process in which the normalization of inequity, subjugation of marginalized groups, and oppression of communities of color exists via the institution of a racist school finance system. It complicates terms like equity and adequacy and encourages problematizing the effects of funding formulas. In addition, a CRT framework provides critical administrative and policy analysis tools for educational leaders interested in the struggle for social justice. Critical race theorists posit that racism, White privilege, and an ahistorical context dominate institutions and systems, social norms, and daily practice. They point to the legal system, including the U.S. Constitution, and cite traditional historical narratives in an effort to highlight the tensions and inconsistencies inherent between property and human rights (Crenshaw, Gotanda, Peller, & Thomas, 1995; Valds, Culp, & Harris, 2002). Taylor (1998) describes CRT research as a form of oppositional scholarship which challenges the experience of Whites as the normative standard and grounds its conceptual framework in the distinctive experiences of people of color (p. 122). Parker and Lynn (2002) describe it as a discourse of liberation that

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can be used as a methodological tool as well as a greater ontological and epistemological understanding of how race and racism affect education and lives of the racially disenfranchised (pp. 78). Delgado and Stefancic (2001) describe CRT as a movement and a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power (p. 2). The theoretical framework has branched out into fields of study outside the original legal studies. It is now utilized by scholars in sociology, ethnic studies, womens studies, and most recently, in education. CRT scholars generally operate under the following central tenets (Crenshaw, Gotanda, Peller, & Thomas, 1995; Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Lpez & Parker, 2003; Parker, 1998):
1. Racism is endemic and ingrained in U.S. society; 2. The civil rights movement and subsequent laws require reinterpretation; 3. Concepts of neutrality, objectivity, colorblindness and meritocracy must be challenged; 4. Providing a space for the voices of marginalized people to be heard is vital to reform; and, 5. Whiteness is constructed as the ultimate property.

Solrzano (1998) adds commitment to social justice and an interdisciplinary perspective to these tenets and notes that in education, CRT challenges dominant education theory, discourse, policy, and practice. LatCrit Theory Made up of scholars who participated in the formation and growth of CRT, LatCrit was designed as a project to highlight the racing of Latina/os in the legal discourse (Trucious-Haynes, 2001; Valds, 1997). Haney-Lpez (1998) argues that LatCrit scholarship should avoid the elimination of race discourse or the substitution of ethnicity-centered explanations as a means for understanding Latina/o identity and marginalization. Similar to CRT, LatCrit scholarship provokes liberatory research and promotes self-determination by Latina/os, for Latina/os (Nuez, 1999). Arguing that the best way to attack the effects of racism upon Latinos in this country is to establish a distinct Latino Critical Race Theory (p. 3), Nuez posited that the current discourse and analysis on race for Latina/os is inadequate, does not interrogate a predominant Anglo, racist ideology, and does not foster cooperation and collaboration with other marginalized groups. Theorists also contend that LatCrit complements CRT work, never supplanting it or its central tenets. By complicating definitions of race and racism, Espinoza and Harris (1998) challenged LatCrit scholars in their

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understanding of racial hierarchy and pushed those in the field to accept Latina/o histories, cultures, perspectives as epistemologies and ontologies worth understanding. Furthermore, Trucious-Haynes (2001) stated that Latina/os must acknowledge and investigate the ways in which the dominant culture defines our group as a Non-White, White or non-racial group that is outside of the race discourse, in order to suit its convenience . . . (p. 3) as has been done at different points in history. She was forthright in her assertion that [A]t a minimum, it is critical that LatCrit scholars confront our communitys ambivalence about its group racial identity (p. 3). Stefancic (1998) stated that the Latina/o critical research has been conducted and written about for many years, although it has been ignored or marked as illegitimate by the traditional and positivistic segments of mainstream academia. She pointed to Rodolfo Acua as the progenitor (p. 1509) of LatCrit discourse and his book, Occupied America, as the first work in LatCrit scholarship for its historical accounting of Latina/os, specifically Chicana/os in the United States and southwest. In her annotated bibliography of works of LatCrit scholarship, Stefancic (1998) organized the literature into 17 themes. In her listing, several corresponded generally to central tenets noted by CRT scholars, whereas others were more specific to issues in Latina/o communities. They included, among others, storytelling/counterstorytelling and naming ones own reality, Latina/o essentialism, black/brown tensions, assimilationism and the colonized mind (pp. 15111515). Espinoza and Harris (1998) argued for an expansion on the BlackWhite paradigm that dominates racial discourse. In the educational research community, scholars have begun to tell the stories of Latina/os in higher and public education, integrating LatCrit scholarship and their research agendas while promoting social change. Researching and examining the issues that affect Chicana/o graduate students (Solrzano & Yosso, 2001; Yosso, 2006) and proposing practical applications of CRT and LatCrit to student services staff that serve Latina/o undergraduate students (Villalpando, 2004) are just two examples of how educational researchers have begun to apply LatCrit to the field. Others have studied the histories, experiences, and cultures of Chicana/os in the colleges and universities (Delgado Bernal, 2002), as well as how Chicana activist teachers combat oppression in the public school setting (Revilla, 2004) in an effort to propose critical frameworks from which to analyze research findings. Utilizing CRT in Educational Policy Analysis Parker (2003) states that critical race policy analysis seeks to link a historical analysis with educational policies racialized effects (p. 147).

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He proposes a framework from which to analyze policy decisions, scrutinizing them and the conditions they create for students of color. Borrowing Parkers framework, I seek to investigate these effects and the conditions created by Texas school finance policy on majority-Mexican American school districts. As exemplified by the plethora of research, Mexican Americans have historically been disadvantaged in many areas of K-12 education policycurriculum and instruction, bilingual education, assessment and accountability systems, and school finance (Allsup, 1982; Cardenas, 1997; Cortez & Montecel, 2003; Delgado Bernal, 2002; Donato, 1997; Kozol, 1991; San Miguel, 2004; Solrzano & Delgado Bernal, 2001; Valencia, 2002b; Valenzuela, 2002; Yosso, 2006). Therefore, this article further seeks to use CRT to determine how Texas school finance policy institutes inequity by analyzing the racialized effects of the Texas system of school funding. Completing a critical race policy analysis such as Brady, Eatman, and Parker (2000) and arguing for race-conscious education policy as does Moses (2002) gives voice to marginalized communities, questions the disadvantaging of communities of color, and problematizes the effects of equity statute. As proffered by Parker (2003), my central argument is that race should be the primary factor used in analyzing educational policy. The rationale for utilizing this methodology is amplified by its potential in achieving an understanding of the intersection of politics, policy, and race and its applicability to educational practice. Aside from some notable exceptions, this type of scholarship is lacking in the educational administration/leadership or educational policy fields of study (Brady, Eatman, & Parker, 2000; LadsonBillings, 1998; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1997; Lpez, 2003; Lpez & Parker, 2003; Parker, 1998, 2003; Parker & Lynn, 2002; Tate, 1997). As Parker (2003) has noted, CRT has not crossed over into the field to any significant extent and is virtually absent in the area of educational policy (p. 154). Therefore, the premise of this article is based on CRT and LatCrits central tenets in an effort to tell the story behind the story (Lpez, 2003). It situates the story of Texas school finance policy in a contextualized critique of a racist historical past, questions the neutrality of school funding formulas and law, challenges the notion that school finance equity was achieved through recent litigation, and places a racist funding structure at the heart of inequity and discrimination. As argued by Parker (2003) and Young (1999), it deviates from traditional educational policy analysiswhich neglects the pervasiveness of racism embedded within policy structures and endorses a rationalist perspective of policymakingby employing a critical race policy framework. Similar to the analysis of higher educational finance completed by Brady, Eatman, & Parker (2000) and the critique of human capital theory in educational finance conducted by Alemn ( 2007),

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this article specifically calls for a critique of educational finance policies employing a CRT framework. BRIEF HISTORY OF THE POLITICS OF TEXAS SCHOOL FUNDING To understand why the Texas school finance system exists in its current form, one must first examine the molding of the United States and Texas, and the roles that property and race played in instituting inequity. The war for independence against England was a liberating moment for capitalism, the free market economy, and Anglo domination. The central concern of the American political and economic elite was the issue of property rights. As stated by Takaki (2000), the war allowed enterprises to convert Native American land into private property, open up trading opportunities, develop business and industry, and in general, expand the market (p. 5). Kramnick (1987) noted that the primary concern raised by newly liberated property owners was whether the central government would have power over the states. He stated that it was concern of states rights issues that became so threatening to the rights of property, which evoked the most outrage (p. 25) among the White ruling elite. Like property, race and racism played a central role in the formation of the United States. Spring (1997) explained that the English belief in their own cultural and racial superiority over Native Americans and, later, enslaved Africans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Asians, was not born on American soil (p. 39). However, these beliefs provided the underpinning for the elimination and subjugation of non-Anglo groups of people. This belief system, exemplified by the enactment of the Naturalization Law of 1790 by the First U.S. Congress, required that applicants demonstrate 2 years of U.S. residency, show good moral character, and be white (Takaki, 2000, p. 15) in order for citizenship to be granted. Similar to the Founding Fathers strategy to rid the land of Native American tribes, appropriate African American labor, and instill a republican, puritan work ethic (Spring, 1997; Takaki, 2000), Texan policymakers implemented efforts to eliminate Mexicans from their land, create a dual-wage system of labor, and inculcate a sense of Manifest Destiny (Acua, 1988; De Len, 1998; Montejano, 1987; San Miguel, 1987; Spring, 1997). For example, as expressed by two of Americas most notable democratic thinkersBenjamin Franklin and Thomas JeffersonWhites were superior and Texas would play a significant role in the Manifest Destiny plans of the United States (Takaki, 2000). Takaki expanded on Franklins notion of the

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lovely white, (p. 11), whereas Acua (1988) stated, Jefferson predicted that the Spanish borderlands are ours the first moment war is forced upon us (pp. 67). Although it would not be until 1836 that war would be forced upon the United States by a struggling, poor, and resource-stripped nation, the creation of dominant and subordinate classes was imminent once the Texans defeated the Mexican Army with the help of American men, money and supplies (Acua, 1988, p. 13). Revolt! Fighting for Education Although many recall the Remember the Alamo rallying cry as a seminal moment in Texas history, education was also a rallying cry of sorts at the onset of TexasMexican War. Texas revolutionaries in 1836 declared that the Mexican government had failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources (Gammel cited in Walker & Casey, 1996, pp. 12). The revolutionaries used this purported lack of educational opportunity as one of the major themes for inciting revolt. In this case, the revolutionaries adroitly argued against this lack of educational opportunity, stirred up anti-Mexican sentiment among Mexican land grantees, and enlisted the assistance of the U.S. government in freeing Texas land from dictatorial control (Acua, 1988). However, the Mexican Constitution of 1824 did address public education and not unlike its counterpart to the north, left the responsibility of education to the states. The Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas (modern day Texas) made provisions for education through land grants and municipal funds in 1827 and 1833; however, land grantees themselves failed to put a high value on education. Instead, the newcomers settled the land, established economic ties, and fought with Native American tribes for control of local lands (Acua, 1988). Individual communities and families determined local educational funding, a method soon employed by the newly formed Republic of Texas (Walker & Casey, 1996). With both the Republic of Texas Constitution of 1836 and the Texas state constitution of 1845, educational funding consisted of allotting counties land for generating revenue or space to educate a countys children. The state also dedicated its first state funds, albeit a very small amount, to be used by counties toward the establishment and maintenance of public schools. Walker and Casey (1996) contended that public interest in establishing and administering public schools was virtually nonexistent. However, San Miguel (1987) demonstrated how Mexican parents struggled to educate their children, founding their own schools, enrolling in Catholic schools, or sending them to Mexican schools to be educated. Whichever the case, it is clear that wealthy landowners, the vast majority of whom were White males, controlled

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the political, educational, and economic structures at Texas inception (Acua, 1988; Johnson, 2003; San Miguel, 1987; Spring, 1997). This elite group of White men formed the states school finance system, laying the groundwork for the modern debate on school finance equity and local control of property taxes. Loss of Property, Institution of Segregation After the TexasMexican War of 1836, Mexican and Mexican American communities continued to comprise the majority of the population but held little or no institutional power. Mexicans were stripped of their land, enabling White cattle ranchers and farming interests to take control of the Texas economic and political system (Acua, 1988; Johnson, 2003; Montejano, 1987). With the end of the MexicanAmerican War in 1848 and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexican inferiority was further institutionalized within the new states political, economic, and social structures (Alonzo, 1998; Menchaca, 1993; Montejano, 1987). Although Mexican negotiators had debated for two articles that would have granted full citizenship rights to Mexicans living in annexed territories as well as recognized Spanish and Mexican land grants as valid, the articles were summarily rejected by the U.S. Congress (Montejano, 1987, p. 311). Menchaca (1993) demonstrates that the treaty stipulated the rights of inhabitants of the ceded territories (including Indians), set the U.S.-Mexico border, and brought several binational agreements on economic relations to closure, but that the American legislators violated the treaty and refused to extend Mexicans full political rights (p. 584). With the assistance of the Texas Rangersknown by Mexican American citizens as the diablos Tejanosthe Texan devils (Johnson, 2003, p. 12) because of their savagery and brutalitya powerful ruling class of White elites secured its place in Texas society. Establishing authority over the now displaced Mexican citizenry, Whites began assuming ownership of the land quickly and solidified White domination in the newly formed state. Economic transformation from a primarily ranching to a farming industry required a steady stream of cheap labor. Because of the states proximity to the border and the depressed nature of the northern Mexican economy, there was endless demand for and supply of cheap labor. Yet as Montejano (1987) noted, White power brokers struggled with, What was to be done with the Mexican? (p. 177). He stated:
Growers argued that the feared social costs of Mexican immigration could be regulated, small farmers and workers, on the other had, predicted the undoing of America. The end result . . . Mexicans were to be kept in the fields

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Educational Administration Quarterly

and out of industry. The proper place for Mexicans in modern Texas was that of farm laborers. (p. 179)

However, in the off-season when crops were not ready to be harvested, farmers and local citizens found it necessary to get Mexican American children off the streets (p. 193). They attended separate schools lacking adequate resources, housed in antiquated facilities and staffed by an untrained faculty (Montejano, 1987; San Miguel, 1987; Spring, 1997; Wilson, 2003). Compulsory laws were either enforced or ignored based on the seasonal needs of farmers. Many White administrators justified their racism by citing district financial distress. San Miguel (1987) noted, They [White administrators] argued that the increase of Mexican enrollment would financially burden the school budget (p. 52). It was not until the state instituted funding formulas that generated state monies based on attendance that Mexican American and other students of color, primarily African Americans, were wanted in schools (Cardenas, 1997). Policy Reform Through the Courts From the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to 1949, the state of Texas school finance did not change significantly. The first major reform since the annexation of the statethe Gilmer-Aiken Act of 1949provided an infusion of state funding and consolidated inefficient school districts, but it did not fundamentally alter the way Texas schools were funded (Walker & Casey, 1996). In other words, districts continued to generate school operational and maintenance funds primarily through local property taxes. The state system was unequalized and the varied property values across the state resulted in wide disparities in local school funding. The negative impact on majority-Mexican American schools was most egregious. Even after several governorappointed statewide commissions recommended a massive infusion of state funds and a restructuring of the system to include a method for equalizing2 funding, the legislature failed to act. It took a group of parents and leading civil rights groups to initiate change through the courts (Cardenas, 1997). In 1969, a San Antonio-based parent group from one of the poorest districts in the state filed suit against a wealthier local school district.3 In the landmark San Antonio Independent School District vs. Rodriguez (1971), a U.S. District Court declared the Texas school finance system unconstitutional. The court held that the states method of relying heavily on local property wealth discriminated against children living in poor school districts (Cardenas, 1997; Farr & Trachtenberg, 1999; Hobby & Walker, 1991; Walker & Casey, 1996). As noted by Valencia (2002a), the case was unique in that it is the first, and only, case of school finance equity to be

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adjudicated before the United States Supreme Court (pp. 1920). When heard on appeal, the court overturned the lower court decision, referred the case back to the state, and reiterated that education was not a fundamental right protected under the U.S. constitution (Valencia, 2002b). The threat of litigation notwithstanding, the Texas legislature failed to address the evident school finance inequities in legislative session from 1973 to 1983. Rather, they dealt with the issue piecemeal, allocating inadequate additional funds and refusing to restructure the school finance system. Lobbying efforts and civil rights protests failed to budge the legislature. Once again, litigation tactics were employed to force legislative action (Farr & Trachtenberg, 1999; Hobby & Walker, 1991). The state constitutional case that provided the impetus for shifting from unequalized local enrichment to an equalized system of finance was Edgewood ISD vs. Kirby (1989).4 Although the original Edgewood case went to trial in January 1987, the state constitutional cases were adjudicated multiple times, spanning 8 years before district, appellate, and the Texas Supreme Court (Cardenas, 1997; Farr & Trachtenberg, 1999; Walker, 1988; Walker & Moak, 1988). Edgewood ISD leadership, attorneys from the Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund (MALDEF),5 and directors of the newly formed Equity Center6 provided leadership on legal and political fronts (Farr & Trachtenberg, 1999). However, MALDEF and Equity Center leadership utilized disparate legal strategies. Districts represented by the Equity Center consisted of majorityWhite, rural, and poor school districts, yet they did not agree with the arguments presented by Edgewood ISD and MALDEF. As a result, the Equity Center school districts joined the struggle against the state system as plaintiffintervenors, but provided an alternate argument to the court. The original Edgewood plaintiffs, along with other majority-Mexican American school districts, advocated a race-based argument. Equity Center supporters preferred a wealth-based discrimination legal argument. In Farr and Trachtenbergs (1999) interviews with Craig Foster, head of the Equity Center, and Al Kauffman, lead attorney for MALDEF, reasons for the abandonment of the equal protection argument were provided. Citing political concerns, Foster found that if the struggle for school finance reform were made into a Mexican-American issue (p. 643), no one in the legislature would support them. More specifically, Foster stated:
The reason for [bringing in the plaintiff-intervenors, i.e. the Equity Center group] was that MALDEF was unwilling to give up the ethnic component even though David Long from California [attorney in Serrano v. Priest] and everybody that had ever done a school-finance lawsuit said that you dont really get anything out of that if you have an inequitable system . . . It is best

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to just go with inequity for everybody and not try to make it an ethnic or racial thing. (pp. 643644)

Kauffman, however, frustrated by the Supreme Courts reluctance to accept an equal protection claim, planned on using the equal protection argument as was used in federal voting rights cases. In his interview with the authors, he concurred with Fosters warning about legislative resistance to an equal protection claim yet was cognizant of the racial reality. Kauffman stated, To this day, I still feel there was discrimination. . . . The main reason this [type of system] was allowed to go on was discrimination against Mexican-Americans (Farr & Trachtenberg, 1999 p. 643). In June 1987 the district judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the states finance system was unconstitutional and inefficient, and that education was a fundamental right protected by the state constitution. Farr and Trachtenberg (1999) stated, The States only victory came at the expense of Kauffmans race-based equal protection claim. On every other point, the plaintiffs were victorious (p. 633). After the state appealed and won in appellate court, the Texas Supreme Court once again declared the Texas school finance system unconstitutional. As had the lower court, the Texas Supreme Court focused on the wealth-based efficiency provision and ordered the Texas Legislature to create a constitutional system by May 1990 (Hobby & Walker, 1991; Walker, 1988; Yudof, 1991). Five more years of litigation and legislative proposals ensued, finally resulting in the adjudication of the last Edgewood case in 1995. After more than 25 years of grassroots struggle, political action, and litigation, advocates were able to secure additional funding for their communities and students. Gone were the days of a blatant and overtly racist system that provided virtually no state assistance to districts in poor property value areas and permitted wealthy property value districts to benefit unchecked. However, Texas school finance policy evolved into a more subtle brand of institutional racism and inequity. Whereas the early years of Texas schooling denied Mexican and Mexican American students the opportunities to attend integrated and betterfunded schools, a new era of school finance inequity was mandated by Texas educational statute. What follows is an analysis of the racialized effects that three chapters of the TEC have on majority-Mexican American schools. THE RACIALIZED POLICY EFFECTS OF TEXAS SCHOOL FINANCE Even after intense political action and mandated court remedies brought about substantial changes to the Texas school finance system, the state funding

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structure continued to utilize the property value of a local district as the primary factor in generating state fundsa variable that disproportionately disadvantaged poor, majority-Mexican school districts (Clark, 2001; Walker & Casey, 1996). Provisions outlined in the Texas School Law Bulletin7 delineate how funding formulas consider property value, student counts, and tax effort in determining state aid. The most vulnerable districts maximized local tax rates and awaited legislative appropriations to fund their academic programs. As stated in TEC, 42.251 (b) (4), the legislature required that a districts academic program be financed in an amount sufficient to finance the cost of the districts basic academic program (Texas Education Agency, 2001). This provision, potentially most damaging to school districts over reliant on state funding for operational expenses, forced property-poor, majority-Mexican American school districts to trust the historically reluctant legislature to provide sufficient funding. In this section of the article, I analyze three chapters of the TEC and interrogate their racial effects on seven majority-Mexican American school districts, most of which are among the poorest of the poor school districts in Texas. These data are from a larger study of Mexican American school district leadership and their political discourse of school finance equity. Therefore, the seven majority-Mexican American districts analyzed in this article were specifically chosen because they were led by the participants of the larger study at the time of their participation. The superintendents and districts were selected because of their majority-Mexican American student enrollments, because they were among the poorest of the poor school districts in the state, and because the superintendents were politically active in the struggle for school finance equity. The educational statute, specifically chapters 42, 41, and 46, provide the broad structure for school district revenue generation, distribution, and state funding (Texas Education Agency, 2001). Although statewide and regional data provide an overview of the enormity of the Texas school finance system, the majority of these analyses focus on how these three chapters affected the seven participant school districts. Because the districts were also members of the South Texas Association of Schools (STAS),8 some of the analyses were conducted from a regional perspective that encompassed members of this organization. Historical data up to the 20022003 school year gathered from the Texas Education Agencys Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) were analyzed. To begin, I provide an illustration of statewide and regional data before outlining district-level student enrollment and total revenue data. In 20022003, approximately 4.2 million schoolchildren attended Texas public schools in which the majority were Latina/o.9 White students

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comprised the next largest racial group and African Americans were the third largest group of students. Total revenue generated for district operations, maintenance, and debt service was approximately $29.4 billion. The majority of revenue for schoolsalmost 52%was generated at the local level, whereas state appropriations provided the next largest portion approximately 40%of local district budgets. Regionally, the 59 members of the STAS served over 403,000 Texas schoolchildren or approximately 9.7% of the states student population. The STAS schools were overwhelmingly Latina/o and economically disadvantaged, 91% and 79%, respectively. Only 7.6% of STAS student populations were White and an infinitesimal 0.99% were African American. Furthermore, Latina/o student population in STAS districts accounted for one fifth or 21% of the states total Latina/o student population. Finally, the STAS member districts generated total revenue of $2.7 billion, representing approximately 10% of total revenue statewide. The seven participating school districts educated a combined 112,300 students, 73.6% of which were economically disadvantaged and 30.8% of which were classified as Limited-English Proficient (LEP) in school year 20022003 (see Table 1). The student demographics were more pronounced when factoring in the skewing effect that the Karankawa ISD10 had on the total percentage of Latina/o and economically disadvantaged. The only district not located on the border, it consisted of a more diverse student population and was the largest district in the study. The seven districts generated $750.7 million in total revenue in 20022003, 76.9% of which was provided by state aid. Only 28.9% of all funds were raised locally. This stark illustration of the fragility in which most and specifically these STAS districts operate highlights the vital nature of state appropriations for the funding of their schools. A Continued Reliance on Property Combined with historically limited state appropriations for equalized funding, an examination of TEC Chapter 42 indicates how a reliance on property value severely disadvantaged these seven STAS school districts. As outlined in educational statute, districts account for total operating costs from a combination of local taxes and state aid. TEC chapter 42 provides equalized funding for a basic academic program through Tier I state aid formulas and for an enrichment program funded by Tier II state aid formulas. Tier I state and local allotments are determined by a districts property value and tax effort, meaning, for example, that higher property wealth requires local funding to generate more funding than state resources

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Alemn / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 1 Student Demographic Data for Study Participants % Limited English Proficient 12.1 51.3 37.4 52.5 47 18.5 8.1


District Algodn Snowbird Oso Azcar Cuatro Nopalito Karankawa

Students 2,102 10,934 25,186 2,691 30,655 1,503 39,268

% Economically Disadvantaged 82.7 91.1 90 93.2 72.9 82.2 56.7

% Latino 95.1 98.7 98.6 99.9 97 96.1 71.9

% White 4.9 1.1 1.2 0.1 2.3 3.5 20.8

NOTE: Data for this table was compiled from the 20022003 Texas Education Agency Public Education Information Management System database.

(Texas Education Agency, 2001). The inverse effect occurs for propertypoor school districts. Tier II finance formulas generate funds beyond the cost of the regular academic program in a similar manner to Tier I funding formulas. Although student enrollment and characteristics account for weighted adjustments to funding levels, they are not the primary variables in determining revenue. State aid, based on a guaranteed yield of a districts weighted average daily attendance (WADA), property value and tax effort, is consistent with Tier I. A districts property value plays a prominent role in state aid generation (Walker & Casey, 1996). Prior to investigating how the policys overreliance on property value is more disadvantageous for those districts dependent on state funding for the majority of their operational and maintenance expenses, the following data demonstrate majority-Mexican American school district property wealth. Table 2 shows, by calculating the property wealth per average daily attendance (ADA) for each of the states school districts, that 76% or 38 of the 50 poorest school districts were majority Latina/o, whereas 48% or 24 of the 50 poorest districts were at least 95% Latina/o. The data further amplify how the seven participant districts, as well as all STAS member districts, fare under the school finance system. Forty-two percent or 21of the 50 poorest school districts were located in the Rio Grande Valley region and were STAS members. Of the seven participant districts, four were among the states 50 poorest (see Appendix A, Table A1 for a complete list of the 50 poorest districts). Of the 50 wealthiest school districts, 76% of them were majority-White and 35% of them were at least 75% White.11 Three majority-Mexican

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Educational Administration Quarterly TABLE 2 Fifty Poorest School Districts as Measured by the Texas School Finance System

% Latina/o 50% or more 70% or more 77% or more 95% or more

Number of Districts 38 35 29 24

% of 50 Poorest Districts 76 70 58 48

NOTE: Data compiled from 20022003, Average Daily Attendance (ADA) and Comptroller Property Tax Division (CPTD) data, Texas Education Agency School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division.

American school districts were on the 50 wealthiest school district list; however, this resulted from their sparse populations, low student counts, and high property values because of oil, gas, and mineral-rich land and/or portions of oceanfront property not enjoyed by their predominantly-Mexican American communities. Despite their apparent property wealth and majority Latina/o student enrollment, their district leadership participated in STAS organizational and political efforts (see Appendix A, Table A2 for a detailed list of the 50 wealthiest districts).12 The seven participants and a majority of the STAS school districts were further disadvantaged by their overreliance on state funding as their primary source of revenue. As shown in Table 3, for the 59 STAS member districts, only 5.5% of their total revenue was provided by the federal government, whereas 28.8% was generated at the local level. The majority of their total funding, almost 64%, came from state appropriations. Analyzing the participant districts, the reliance on state aid is even more striking. All generated the majority of their funding from state coffers. Cuatro and Karankawa ISDs skewed the data because of their ability to raise a higher percentage of total revenue from local sources despite their significant numbers of economically disadvantaged and LEP students. Contrary to other districts that generated the majority of their total revenue from state resources, both are located in economically developing areas of southern Texas with growing tax bases. The district data on property wealth and their reliance on state funding indicate the tenuous predicament in which the seven majority-Mexican American school districts must operate. Prior to the Edgewood victories, tremendous inequity existed between districts with high property value and those with low property value. Under a so-called unequalized system of finance, districts capable of taxing themselves minimally were able to raise more funds than those taxing themselves to their limit. With the Edgewood court victories and
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Alemn / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 3 Participant District Total Revenue, 20022003 Independent School District Algodn Azcar Cuatro Karankawa Nopalito Oso Snowbird


% Federal 7.3 9.7 5.5 4.1 6 6.7 5.8

% Local 11.8 10.7 34.7 41.7 14.9 16.1 10.4

% Other 2.3 0.5 2.3 3 2.2 1.2 1

% State 78.6 79.1 57.5 51.2 76.9 76.1 82.8

NOTE: Data was compiled from 20022003, Texas Education Agency Public Education Information Management System database.

subsequent legislative enactments, additional state monies became available, eradicating issues of blatant inequity (Cortez & Montecel, 2003). Yet, a continued reliance on property value as a primary driver in state funding formulas bore racialized effects. Whereas with TEC chapter 42, property-poor districts would be equalized up to the $271,400 wealth per WADA threshold, TEC, 42.001 (a), would codify inequity (Texas Education Agency, 2001). It states the following:
It is the policy of this state that the provision of public education is a state responsibility and that a thorough and efficient system be provided and substantially financed through state revenue sources so that each student enrolled in the public school system shall have access to programs and services that are appropriate to the students educational needs and that are substantially equal [emphasis added] to those available to any similar student, notwithstanding varying local economic factors.

The substantially equal level for property-poor school districts was set by the legislature. In 20022003, the equalized amount was set at $271,400 per WADA. As is shown in the next section, although TEC chapter 41 forced property-wealthy school districts to share their wealth, it allowed them to operate with more funding than property-poor school districts. The substantially equal provision of the TEC amounts to legalized inequity (Texas Education Agency, 2001). The Robin Hood Provisions The main feature of the Texas school finance system is the recapture provisions in TEC chapter 41. These provisions require property-wealthy

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Educational Administration Quarterly TABLE 4 Districts With the Majority of the 20022003 Recapture Cost Independent School District Austin Plano Highland Park Carrollton-Farmers Branch Eanes Richardson Deer Park Cumulative % of Total Recapture 14.47 26.74 32.74 38.21 43.52 48.55 52.38

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Recapture Cost $139,238,091 $117,983,118 $57,788,110 $52,590,091 $51,121,251 $48,389,624 $36,862,339

Cumulative Total $139,238,091 $257,221,209 $315,009,319 $367,599,410 $418,720,661 $467,110,285 $503,972,624

NOTE: 20022003 Chapter 41 district and cost data was collected from the Texas Education Agency School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division.

school districtsthose with a property value per WADA that exceeds $305,000to share their wealth with the state or with other school districts (Farr & Trachtenberg, 1999).13 According to 20022003 school year data, only 105 school districts, or 10.13% of districts, were required to share their wealth. Twenty-seven school districts were considered gap schools, meaning they did not generate Tier II funds nor were their local funds recaptured. Because they generated between the guaranteed level of $271,400 wealth per WADA and the recaptured wealth level of $305,000, the districts remained unaffected by either TEC chapters 41 or 42. Districts capable of generating above $271,400 wealth per WADA were legally able to have more funding per student. The recapture provisions hardly instituted an equitable system as professed by many in the school finance debate; rather, the TEC Chapter 41 legitimized and codified state-sanctioned inequity (Texas Education Agency, 2001). The 105 recapture districts provided $962.1 million to the state and property-poor school districts in school year 20022003. The majority of these costs were borne by only seven districts. These seven districts combined for 52.4%, or approximately $504 million of the total recapture cost (see Table 4). Students attending these seven districts totaled 214,000 or 5.1% of the student count for the entire state. Twenty school districts accounted for 75.4% of the total recaptured costs and educated only 7% of the statewide student population. White students were most affected by the recapture provisions. Of the total student population attending recaptured schools, 55% were White, 28% Mexican American and 11% African American.

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Alemn / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 5 Comparison of Funding per Student in Seven Wealthiest Participant Districts Independent School District Eanes Nopalito Carrollton-Farmers Branch Plano Highland Park Richardson Deer Park Algodn Austin Snowbird Oso Azcar Karankawa Cuatro Total State/Local per Student $8,298 $7,929 $7,538 $7,379 $7,250 $7,073 $7,026 $6,997 $6,697 $6,609 $6,379 $6,232 $6,159 $5,730


Total Funding per Student $8,984 $8,637 $8,114 $7,981 $7,792 $7,544 $7,473 $7,738 $7,147 $7,093 $6,922 $6,940 $6,631 $6,212

NOTE: Data was compiled from 20022003 Texas Education Agency Public Education Information Management System database. The bolded districts are those that had superintendents that participated in this study. Total State/Local is state aid, whereas Total Funding includes state and federal funding.

The substantially equal language in TEC chapter 42, along with chapter 41 Robin Hood provisions advantaged wealthy, majority-White school districts, in that they were legally entitled to more funding per student than poorer, majority-Mexican American school districts. Of the participant districts, six of the seven generated less funding per student than did the seven recaptured districts reviewed earlier. Austin and Nopalito ISDs were the lone anomalies because of their high concentration of low socioeconomic-status students (Texas Education Agency, 2001; see Table 5). Of these 14 districts, chapter 41 districts generated an average of $859 more per student in state and local funding than did participant school districts. The largest discrepancy was exhibited by Cuatro ISD, which has $2,500 less per student in local and state funding than did Eanes ISD. If Cuatro ISD were provided with the $2,500 difference in funding per student for each of its 30,600 students, the district would have generated an additional $78.5 million for its budget. The additional funding generated for Karankawa, Azcar, Oso, Snowbird, and Algodn ISDs would have been $83.5 million, $2.3 million, $48.4 million, $18.4 million, and $2.7 million, respectively. The total additional funding for the seven participant districts would have amounted to $234.2 million in 20022003.

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TEC chapter 41 has traditionally contained the school finance systems most controversial provisions. The media and public have named it Robin Hood because of the perception that the state requires districts to give back their money, a form of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor (Texas Education Agency, 2001). Many Texans falsely believe that property-poor school districts generate more total revenue than do the property-wealthy school districts. As demonstrated by these data, Robin Hood has not stolen as much money from the rich as is publicly perceived. Utilizing Debt to Re-Enforce Inequity The original Edgewood plaintiffs presented evidence of disparate expenditures in school facilities funding. By the January 1995 Edgewood IV decision, the Supreme Court admonished the state to consider additional or equalized state funding for facilities. As a result, the state legislature finally appropriated funding for a limited facilities grant program in 1995. It was the precursor to the better-funded and more-inclusive Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA)14 program that was instituted in September 1997 (Clark, 2001; Farr & Trachtenberg, 1999; Walker & Casey, 1996). Two years later, the Existing Debt Allotment (EDA)15 program was created to assist school districts with eligible existing general obligation debt (Clark, 2001). Both the IFA and EDA programs, often referred to as Tier III, coexisted since 1999, yet they served different types of districts. Districts in need of state funding for facilities construction projects were once again at the mercy of the biennial appropriation process as was the case with Tier II funding. If Tier III was unavailable or insufficient to meet the demands of rising school enrollment or deteriorating existing facilities, property-poor districts were not able to initiate construction projects. Majority-Mexican American school districts were subsequently at a disadvantage to attain facilities funding. Many school districts typically issue bonds or borrow money to pay for major facilities construction or renovation projects, which is why the state created and implemented the IFA program as a method of assisting districts in their repayment of school construction bonds. As stipulated in TEC, 46.003 (a), the IFA program provides funding for districts to repay bonds used to construct, acquire, renovate, or improve an instructional facility (Texas Education Agency, 2001). The IFA program distributed state funding based on property wealththe wealthier a district, the less state funding it received and more local funds it was required to raise. The inverse was required for poorer school districts. The EDA program assisted districts similarly; however, the funding eligibility criteria were set by the definition

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Alemn / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 6 Comparison of Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) and Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) Funding for 59 South Texas Association of Schools Districts from 19971998 to 20022003 Year 20022003 20012002 20002001 19992000 19981999 19971998 IFA Total $74,111,275 $68,371,821 $60,530,175 $35,069,647 $22,640,360 $7,973,722 % Total IFA 25.62% 27.02% 27.70% 20.01% 19.01% 12.36% EDA Total $41,792,385 $46,416,447 $44,081,235 $44,851,335


% Total EDA 9.24 8.61 9.18 10.09

NOTE: Data compiled is from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division as well as the TEA IFA Web site, ifa.html. The data includes all state aid data since the inception of both the IFA in 19971998 and the Existing Debt Allotment in 19992000.

of eligible debt. In 20022003, eligible EDA debt was defined in TEC, 46.033 (1) as tax-supported debt that [t]he district made payments on the bonds during the 20002001 school year or taxes levied to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds were included in the districts audited debt service tax collections for that school year (Texas Education Agency, 2001). This cutoff date of 20002001 forced districts to issue their debt prior to and without the assurance that the state would assist in the repayment of it. Higher-wealth districts were typically able to take the calculated risk that the state would appropriate EDA funding to meet their obligations. Propertypoor districts delayed construction projects or maintained their deteriorating facilities, choosing to wait for IFA funding opportunities rather than risk issuing debt without the states assurance of assistance. The STAS member districts exhibited this phenomenon in that they were more likely to benefit from the IFA program than the EDA program. In 20022003, STAS member districts generated a total of $115.9 million in facilities funding, accounting for approximately 26% of the total IFA funding and only 9% of the total EDA funding. Since 19992000, the first year of EDA funding, the STAS districts garnered no more than 10% of the total EDA funding. They benefited more from the IFA program, and in 20002001, reached their highest percentage at almost 28% (see Table 6). District-level facilities funding analysis of the seven participating districts demonstrates how they typically did not benefit from the EDA, or relied more significantly on IFA awards for facilities funding. For example,

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Educational Administration Quarterly TABLE 7 Comparison of Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) and Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) Funding for Participant Districts, 20022003

Independent School District Algodn Azcar Cuatro Karankawa Nopalito Oso Snowbird Average %

IFA 2003 % 62.04 100.00 24.94 24.22 100.00 80.11 100.00 54.88

EDA 2003 % 37.96 75.06 75.78 19.89 45.12

NOTE: Data compiled is from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division as well as the TEA IFA Web site, .finance/facilities/ifa.html.

three of the seven districts did not generate any EDA funds in 20022003 (see Table 7). Because they did not issue eligible bonds or were already benefiting from the IFA program for the bonds they did have, the districts were not able to capitalize on the states funding of EDA. Karankawa and Cuatro ISDs both earned substantial EDA monies, skewing the average percentage of the group of districts. Their generally higher wealth per ADA status combined with the fact they exist in fast-growth, relatively economically stable communities helped to qualify them for this funding. Azcar, Nopalito, and Snowbird ISDs were excluded from the EDA program because of the stipulation that they issue debt prior to receiving assurance from the state of assistance. Algodn and Oso ISDs received minimal EDA funding. In the debt servicing or repayment process, property-wealthy school districts are not forced to share their interest and sinking (I & S) fund tax collections as is required in the maintenance and operations (M & O) or Tier II funding formulas.16 As was stated in the previous subsection, Chapter 42 provisions equalize up to a $271,400 wealth per WADA formula, whereas chapter 41 provisions require districts with property value per WADA in excess of $305,000 to select one or more of the five options to bring the district down to an equalized level as required by the state. This equalizes tax collections generated from the districts M & O tax rate. However, TEC chapter 46, subchapters A and B do not require that the districts I & S fund tax collections be equalized (Clark, 2001). Therefore, property-wealthy districts are able to issue as much debt and build as many facilities as their

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Alemn / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY TABLE 8 Comparison of Per District Funding for Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) and Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) since 19971998 Number of Districts 400 370 308 264 220 115 Per District Funding $723,040 $683,841 $709,548 $664,028 $541,266 $561,120 Number of Districts 532 570 570 623


School Year 20022003 20012002 20002001 19992000 19981999 19971998

IFA Total Funding $289.20 $253.00 $218.50 $175.39 $119.10 $64.570

EDA Total Funding $452.1 $539.3 $480.0 $444.7

Per District Funding $849,745 $946,092 $842,071 $713,731

NOTE: Data compiled is from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division as well as the TEA IFA Web site, ifa.html. The totals in the IFA Total Funding and Existing Debt Allotment Total Funding are in millions.

communities are willing to build, and property-poor school district must rely on legislative appropriation for facilities funding. Finally, state appropriations for new IFA funding must be approved every biennium as does a change in criteria for eligible existing debt. EDA funding is permanently fixed in the state funding formulas, but IFA funding is not. Districts must compete for scarce funding every funding cycle. In the first six cycles of IFA funding, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has run out of money every year but the first two (see Table 8).17 The bulk of facilities funding has been appropriated in the EDA program. For example, since the programs existence the state legislature has appropriated more funding for districts qualifying for EDA funding ($1.9 billion in 4 years) rather than in the IFA program ($1.9 billion in 6 years). In the 4 years that the programs have coexisted, the IFA has never had a higher funding-per-district level than districts in the EDA. The largest disparity occurred in 20012002 when districts awarded in the EDA program earned $262,251 more per district than if they were awarded in the IFA. The states two allotment programs are designed to assist school districts with repayment of district-approved debt; however, those issuing debt without the assurance of state assistance are more likely to generate more funding from the state. Districts not able to afford debt repayment solely on local tax collections remain disadvantaged. The states facilities programs reinstitute inequity because wealthy school districts generate more funding and have ability to collect I & S tax collections without the requirement of recapture. This affects majority-Mexican school districts disproportionately.

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DISCUSSION By situating this policy analysis in a CRT framework and understanding the history of Texas school finance from a LatCrit perspective, structural and institutional racism are evident. A system based historically on property rights, Texas school finance policy continues to disadvantage, discriminate, and oppress communities and students of color in much the same way that Menchaca (1993), Montejano (1987), and San Miguel and Valencia (1998) found that the invalidation of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo aided racist institutional and social practices. Although substantial progress was made in rectifying a more overt system of inequity (via the Edgewood state court cases), property-poor, majority-Mexican American school districts continue to endure a racist school finance system. The neutral language of substantially equal only seeks to mask codified inequity. As shown in these analyses, property-wealthy school districts generate more funding, and facilities programs continue to advantage wealthier school districts. Chicana/o and Latina/o scholars have, for many years, studied the plight of Chicana/o and Latina/o students and communities (see, i.e., Acua, 1988; Darder, Torres, & Gutirrez, 1997; Delgado Bernal, Elenes, Godinez, & Villenas, 2006; Elenes, Gonzales, Delgado Bernal, & Villenas, 2001; Pizarro, 1998; Solrzano, 1998; Valencia, 2002b; Valenzuela, 1999; Vigil, 1999; Villalpando, 2003). However, promoting CRT and LatCrit understandings of educational policy are essential if a new form of educational leadership and study of educational politics and policy within the educational administration field of study are to take root. This approach argues that educational policy analysis should attempt to explain and describe policy effects in a similar methodological manner. More specifically, applying CRT and LatCrit tenets to policy analysis would provide an alternative to traditional methods of evaluating policy in unbiased, scientific, or objective ways (Boyd, Crowson, & Geel, 1994; Cibulka, 1994; Fowler, 2004; Guthrie & Rothstein, 2001), as has often been the case in this field. The analysis of Texas school finance policy in this article is one example how CRT and LatCrit may be applied. Texas school finance policy was challenged and problematized as the hallmark civil rights achievement in attempting to achieve equity for the states public school children. Despite the fact that many continue to hail the Edgewood state court cases and other legislative reforms as moving toward equity, CRT provides a sound framework from which to question its ability to accomplish this. Given that property is disadvantaging in nature (Harris, 1993) and that funding has historically been based on property value, CRT provides an ample critical framework that asks the viability of this occurring (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1997). Scholars, such

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as Bell (1992a, 1992b, 2004) and Delgado (2002, 2006) have also provided analytical concepts capable of evaluating the racist nature of reform. Their interest convergence principle maintains that reform will not occur unless Whites are benefited. Having the ability to understand racial realism grounds this research on the pervasiveness of racism in this country while stressing that policies have maintained inequity and racial hierarchy. The discussion of school finance history exemplified the utilization of LatCrit as a method for providing alternative explanations of inequity and discrimination. Scholars, such as Padilla (1999, 2001), have called for Latina/os to consider the way by which dominant practices and policies infect the other. She describes how Latina/o communities have been mislead by members of their own community, overtaken by a colonized mind. Because this can affect social critique while perpetuating self-hate, it is critical that Latina/ o-centered understandings of history be made central to combating the often crippling nature of self-hate and self-doubt in Latina/o communities. Finally, LatCrit inserts an analysis of majority-Mexican American school districts in a state that is now majority Mexican American. As the nation moves toward having majority Latina/o minority populations, problematizing the Black-White binary that has often overshadowed conversations of racism and other communities of color will result in more productive analysis and coalitionbuilding efforts across communities of color (Stefancic, 1998). CONCLUSION Like the Leslie Stahl story, educational policy is commonly examined from a traditional perspective, ignoring racism and calling for a rational view of the facts (Boyd, Crowson, & Geel, 1994; Cibulka, 1994; Fowler, 2004). Similar to many educational leaders and policy makers, Stahl neglected what Lpez (2003) has described as the story behind the story. This story behind the Texas school finance story deviates from convention and refutes traditional analysis. It employs a CRT framework to center race and racism and provides a LatCrit view of the history of domination and loss of land in Texas formative years and in its codification in current policy. Above all, this critical race policy analysis interrogates the racial effects of educational policy (Brady, Eatman, & Parker, 2000; Parker, 2003) and questions how substantially equal equity perpetuates racism. It is a utilization of CRT policy analysis of school finance policy, as well as other educational policies, that will begin to foster change in areas such as student achievement and university access and success. This article makes an argument for understanding race and racism from a systemic and institutional

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Educational Administration Quarterly

level. Like other work in educational research (Anyon, 1997; Kozol, 1991), it serves to emphasize the linkages between race, social class, and inequity while also providing a critical framework from which to conduct social justice analysis in school finance (Alemn, 2007; Brady, Eatman, & Parker, 2000; Rodriguez & Rolle, 2007). A need to discuss, research, advocate, teach, and lead from alternative perspectives is necessary if social justice goals are ever to be attained. This article calls for such action, exemplifying the need to deconstruct and contend with the policy assumptions and traditional American values that dominate the majoritarian view of the world demanding that language like substantially equal be turned on its head. APPENDIX A
TABLE A1 Fifty Poorest School Districts as Measured by the Texas School Finance System Wealth per ADA $15,353 $17,628 $22,977 $27,471 $27,738 $33,347 $36,664 $36,868 $36,930 $39,112 $40,958 $44,637 $47,187 $47,834 $49,420 $50,841 $51,103 $52,777 $53,752 $54,054 $55,284 $55,928 $56,711 $57,594 Independent School District Boles South Texas San Elizario Edcouch-Elsa Progreso Tornillo Santa Rosa Mercedes Santa Maria Fabens McLeod Edgewood Donna Presidio Robstown Somerset Rio Hondo Clint San Benito Cons Southwest Orange Grove Valley View Poteet Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

% White 88.3 18.6 0.8 0.5 0.2 0.9 2.5 1 2.1 94.5 1.2 1.2 1.7 1.4 19.8 4.6 4.5 2.5 11.4 41.5 0.1 16.3 7.7

% Black 1.4 0.5 0.3 0.1 0.7 0.1 0.3 0.1 3.2 1.6 0.1 0.1 0.6 0.8 0.5 0.1 4.2 0.7 0.4 0.2

% Hispanic 5.9 75.1 98.9 99.3 99.8 98.4 97.4 98.8 99.6 97.6 1.5 97 98.6 98.2 97.8 79 95.4 94.8 97.4 83.9 57.6 99.8 83 92.1

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Alemn / CRT ANALYSIS OF SCHOOL FINANCE POLICY 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 $57,729 $57,836 $57,850 $58,513 $59,470 $60,164 $61,085 $62,302 $62,615 $62,783 $64,027 $64,167 $64,495 $64,945 $65,742 $66,808 $67,582 $67,605 $68,069 $68,366 $68,439 $68,567 $69,242 $69,521 $69,682 $69,720 Crystal City Southside Harlandale Ector La Feria Olfen Rio Grande City CISD Mission Cons Axtell Martinsville Laredo Rice Splendora Roma Natalia Grape Creek Weslaco Hubbard La Pryor Eagle Pass Maud Hawley Central Heights Pharr-San Juan-Alamo La Villa South San Antonio 1.3 16.7 5.2 98.3 10 41.7 0.2 2.5 87.5 83.9 0.8 72.1 88.5 0.2 24.5 75.2 2.5 71.1 5.2 1.3 92.3 93.7 86.8 1.3 0.3 3 0.7 1.5 0.6 0.2 3.6 0.1 4.9 5.4 0.1 6.5 0.5 1 0.7 0.1 23.9 0.5 0.1 7.1 0.5 7.4 0.2 1.7


98 80.6 94.1 1.3 89.8 54.8 99.7 97.4 7.1 10.8 99.1 21.4 10.5 99.3 74.2 23.9 97.1 4.2 94.3 97.1 0.2 5.1 5.5 98.4 99.7 94.9

NOTE: Data is 20022003 school year data compiled from the Texas Education Agency, School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division. The bolded rows indicate those districts that are located in Region One and Region Two and are members of the South Texas Association of Schools.

TABLE A2 Fifty Wealthiest School Districts as Measured by the Texas School Finance System Independent School District Tatum Sterling City Divide Austwell-Tivoli Whiteface Cons Hunt Plains Round Top-Carmine

Rank 988 989 990 991 992 993 994 995

Wealth per ADA $913,766 $917,094 $947,398 $958,621 $978,938 $997,779 $1,003,294 $1,009,670

%White 56.6 59.6 60 29.5 69.5 73.2 45.2 83

%Black 23.9

%Hispanic 19.3 40.4 40 69.9 27.6 26.3 54.6 6.9 (continued)

0.6 1.4 0.2 8.9

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Educational Administration Quarterly Table A2 (continued) Independent School District Beckville Matagorda McCamey Highland Park Pringle-Morse Cons Denver City Crane Dawson San Isidro Port Aransas Seminole Sudan Westbrook Evadale Buena Vista Loop Wink-Loving Sundown Rankin Glen Rose Plemons-Stinnett-Phillips CISD Glasscock County Crockett County Cons CSD Ezzell Iraan-Sheffield Terrell County Boys Ranch McMullen County Palo Pinto Borden County Webb Cons Grandview-Hopkins Guthrie Csd Darrouzett Miami Fort Elliott Cons Kenedy County Wide CSD Jayton-Girard Sabine Pass Allison Kelton Dew

Rank 996 997 998 999 1000 1001 1002 1003 1004 1005 1006 1007 1008 1009 1010 1011 1012 1013 1014 1015 1016 1017 1018 1019 1020 1021 1022 1023 1024 1025 1026 1027 1028 1029 1030 1031 1032 1033 1034 1035 1036 1037

Wealth per ADA $1,021,516 $1,023,935 $1,034,170 $1,052,076 $1,068,477 $1,090,319 $1,104,849 $1,110,687 $1,119,253 $1,123,704 $1,140,259 $1,165,711 $1,214,866 $1,244,904 $1,290,402 $1,297,437 $1,308,947 $1,340,463 $1,365,459 $1,374,729 $1,412,604 $1,485,647 $1,515,351 $1,521,917 $1,592,147 $1,617,679 $1,637,105 $1,734,658 $1,788,924 $1,909,508 $2,018,144 $2,096,541 $2,105,072 $2,112,646 $2,168,276 $2,215,169 $2,930,389 $3,023,232 $3,103,150 $4,307,619 $4,630,192 $5,046,781

%White 75.1 73.4 38 96.8 52.8 36.4 42.4 66.1 4.1 89.3 55.9 49.1 73.3 99.2 64 51.7 72 50.6 57.8 76.9 86.4 61.9 33.4 97.1 52.2 36.3 78.4 50 87 73.3 5.1 100 83.5 83.1 93.6 92.8 28.2 88.4 89.3 100 64.7 82.5

%Black 14 5.1 0.8 0.2 1.5 2.1

%Hispanic 9.4 21.5 60.6 1.2 47.2 61.5 54.7 33.9 95.9 7.6 41.5 44.5 22 0.6 36 48.3 26.5 47.6 38.9 20.9 11 38.1 66.2 2.9 44.5 60.2 12.6 50 13 24.2 94.9 0 16.5 16.9 5.1 1.8 71.8 9.6 4 0 29.4 13.8

0.9 2.2 5.8 3.3 0.2

1.2 1.3 3 0.4 0.3 0.2 2.9 0 6.7

2.1 4 5.9 1.3

NOTE: Data is 20022003 school year data compiled from the Texas Education Agency, School Finance and Fiscal Analysis Division. The bolded rows indicate those districts that are located in Region One and Region Two and are members of the South Texas Association of Schools.

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1. What Stahl also failed to mention were recent data indicating that top 10% students have higher undergraduate GPAs than those non-top 10% admitted students. For the latest University of Texas report see 2. Prior to the Edgewood court cases, the state had virtually operated under an unequalized system of finance in which a property-wealthy school districts could tax low and continue to generate substantial local funds. In contrast, property-poor school districts would tax their local community very high and yield low local funds. The resulting equalized system of finance guaranteed districts a substantially equal amount of funding for their tax effort. The concept of substantially equal will be explored further in a subsequent section of the article. 3. The parents resided in Edgewood Independent School District (ISD), one of the poorest school districts in the state of Texas. Located on the west side of San Antonio, parents and community activists from the districts spurred the initial Rodriguez vs. San Antonio ISD (1971) federal case in the late 1960s. When the federal case was dismissed, a state strategy to contest inequitable funding was led by the same group of parents, activists, and attorneys. The state constitutional challenges are known as the Edgewood cases. Prior to the onset of arguments, the plaintiffs (Mexican American parents and advocates) shifted their legal strategy, choosing to sue the state rather than the local school district. 4. Edgewood Independent School District et al. vs. Kirby, 777 S.W.2d 391 (1989) was the first of four iterations of state constitutional challenges. This historical background primarily focuses on the first of the Edgewood cases. 5. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is a leading civil rights, advocacy, and litigation nonprofit agency serving the Latina/o communities. The organization was founded in San Antonio in 1968. During the Edgewood cases, they represented the majorityMexican American school districts. 6. The Equity Center is a nonprofit organization formed as the technical analysis arm of the plaintiffs case, lobbied legislators and organized rural, poor school districts. 7. For purposes of the larger study and the analysis in this article, most data and all statutes analyzed come from the 20022003 school year. 8. The South Texas Association of Schools consists of 59 school districts, mostly from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, the southernmost region of the state. As is the region, the districts are among the poorest and consist of majority-Mexican American student enrollments. 9. I use Latina/o interchangeably with Mexican American and Hispanic. Although most of the students in the seven participating districts are Mexican or Mexican American, there are some students from other Latin American nations. The state data does not categorize Latina/os into subgroups. The state categorizes its students under the identifier Hispanic. 10. District names are pseudonyms. 11. Boles ISD is ranked the poorest school district in the state of Texas for the 20022003 school year. Although the district is majority-White, when evaluating the list of poor school districts it is plainly evident that the majority of poor school districts, and those disadvantaged by the state system of funding, are majority-Mexican American. 12. The ranking of the 1,037 Texas public school districts by wealth was calculated by dividing the districts assessed property value by its average daily attendance (ADA). Both appendices list the 50 poorest school districts (ranked from 1 to 50) and 50 wealthiest school districts (ranked from 988 to 1,037). Percentages of students may not add to 100 because only the three largest student groups were included in the table. 13. See Texas School Law Bulletin, TEC, 41.003, which documents the options for sharing wealth that exceeds the $305,000 per weighted average daily attendance (WADA). The five

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options include consolidation with another district, detachment of ADA credits, purchase of ADA credits, education of nonresident students, and tax base consolidation with another district. 14. See Texas School Law Bulletin, TEC, chapters 46, subchapter A, Instructional Facilities Allotment, as well as Texas Administrative Code (TAC), 61.1032, Commissioners Rules on Instructional Facilities Allotment. 15. See Texas School Law Bulletin, TEC, chapter 46, subchapter B, Existing Debt Allotment, as well as Texas Administrative Code (TAC), 61.1035, Commissioners Rules on Assistance with Payment of Existing Debt. 16. Interest and sinking (I & S) tax rate is used by school districts to tax for the specific purpose of raising funds for general obligation or voter-approved bonds. A district is typically able to tax up to a $.50 I & S tax rate. The maintenance and operations (M & O) tax rate is assessed for the specific purpose of maintaining the operations of a school district. A district is typically able to tax up to $1.50 M & O tax rate. 17. Information and data gathered from Texas Education Agency, Division of School Finance and Fiscal Analysis staff.

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Dr. Enrique Alemn Jr., is an assistant professor in the department of educational leadership and policy at the University of Utah. His research interests include the politics of education, school finance equity, and Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Latina/o Critical (LatCrit) Theory applications in educational research.

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