DALLAS — Texas District Court Judge John Dietz ordered a January trial to consider new legislation that could affect his earlier ruling in a lawsuit challenging the state's system of public school financing.
Lawyers have until July 17 to present evidence that laws passed by the 2013 Legislature have changed the circumstances since Dietz's bench ruling in February that the school finance system was unconstitutionally inadequate, insufficient, ineffective, and arbitrary.
Arguments on the pertinent bills will be considered by Dietz at the reopening of the trial on Jan. 6, he said Wednesday. He said the proceedings could take several weeks.
Dietz said in February he would not issue a written opinion until the Legislature had met. The case cannot be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court until the opinion is issued.
The 2013 Legislature added $3.9 billion to state education aid over the next two fiscal years and cut the number of required tests for advancement.
The reopening of the case was sought by some of the groups that filed the suits and attorneys for the state.
Other plaintiff groups did not, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
"Reopening this trial in January will only delay the justice our kids deserve," said David Hinojosa, an attorney for the Fund.
Mark Trachtenberg, who represents several property-rich districts in the case, said the school finance case might be sent back to Dietz by the Texas Supreme Court if the new legislation was not considered.
"We believe that we will still be able to prove that the system is unconstitutional but we believe we need to do that on the most up-to-date information available," he said at Wednesday's hearing.