Two families and the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project have filed a lawsuit in district court alleging that Clint Independent School District does not provide equitable funding to students attending comparable, but different, schools in the district. The suit claims this represents a violation of the Texas Constitution, and demands Clint ISD equalize funding for all students in the same grade across the district.
According to public expenditure data cited in the suit, $9,983 was spent per pupil at Clint High School during the 2009-2010 school year, while neighboring Mountain View High School and Horizon City High School received $8,492 and $6,471 per student, respectively. The suit states Clint High School enrolls 594 students, while Horizon City High School boasts an enrollment of more than twice that. Mountain View High School had a total enrollment of 938 in 2009-10. (Read the full document below.)
This funding disparity also extends to the middle school level, and has existed since 2006-07.
Per the Texas Education Code, the suit states, there are several factors to consider in equalizing the distribution of funds to various districts based on the population of higher-need students in each district. These include the percentage of students in bilingual education, and the number of “economically disadvantaged” students at a high school.
In 2009-10, only 6.6 percent of the student population at Clint High School was enrolled in a bilingual education program, compared to 16.7 percent of Mountain View High School’s student body, and 11.6 percent of Horizon High School’s students.
72.4 percent of Clint High’s campus met economically disadvantaged status in 2009-10, while this was true for 94 percent of Mountain View’s students and 88.2 percent of the Horizon campus. Comparable numbers were also in effect in the district’s corresponding middle schools.
“The law requires Clint ISD to distribute funds to its schools equally and appropriately weighted, according to state funding standards," Jed Untereker, PCRP Legal Director, said in a statement. "In fact, one would expect Montana Vista and Horizon City schools to receive more money per student based on their higher percentage of Limited English Proficiency students and economically disadvantaged students."
When calculated over the span of a student’s career in the district, Clint ISD spends over $16,000 more on a Clint student than a Horizon City student from middle school through high school, and over $8,000 more than on a Montana Vista-area student.
The state of Texas currently faces six other lawsuits over the way it funds public schools.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Education released in December, more state and local money went to teacher salaries in high-income schools than in the district schools serving economically disadvantaged children. Additionally, 40 percent of low-income schools spent less on school employees in the 2008-09 school year than other well-off schools within their districts.