Davis Calls for School Funding Settlement

Says AG Abbott is "defending the indefensible"

Wendy Davis at ACC-Rio Grande
Wendy Davis at ACC-Rio Grande (Photo by Michael King)

In a brief press conference held outside the Rio Grande campus of Austin Community College, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis called on her GOP opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, to "move to settle" the current public school funding lawsuit. "Now is the time to end this mess," said Davis. "It's time to move forward."

Reading from a prepared statement, Davis briefly described the history of the 2011 legislative spending cuts, the lawsuit brought by a coalition of about 600 underfunded school districts, and the partial restoration of school funding by the 2013 Legislature. Federal Judge John Dietz has already declared the current state of school funding inadequate under the Texas constitution; he's reviewing the 2013 legislative decisions in anticipation of a March ruling on the revised situation.

"So here we are," said Davis, "locked in a legal battle that everyone, except General Abbott, seems to know is over. He's defending the indefensible."

On the campaign trail, Abbott has declined to comment on the lawsuit or public school funding, saying he cannot do so as counsel to the state. Davis concluded, "The simple fact is, Greg Abbott needs to stop this nonsense. He needs to stop defending the indefensible. He needs to settle this case. And, as a candidate for Governor, he needs to tell us what he'd do to improve our public schools."

Asked by reporters what such a settlement might look like, Davis said Abbott could recommend to the Legislature – in a special session if necessary – that it address the "broken" school funding formulas and respond to Dietz's ruling with the adequate funding for public schools. She said there are sufficient resources to address the problem – pointing specifically to the Rainy Day Fund – and noting that Dietz cited "$10 bilion" as working target going forward. Since the Legislature had cut more than $5 billion from schools in 2011, and restored only $3.4 billion in 2013, Davis said that much work needed to be done and it should begin with Abbott settling the suit and making recommendations to the Legislature.

In response to questions, Davis also defended her support for "open-carry" of hand guns – saying it should be a local decision, including on university campuses – and revisited Abbott's recent remark about "third-world" conditions along the Texas border. Davis said public officials need to be sensitive in speaking about border communities. "Words matter," said Davis, "and words have an impact."

More March 2014 Election
Following the Money
Following the Money
Eckhardt campaign defines “greater good”: support for Eckhardt

Michael King, March 3, 2014

No Nugent Is Good Nugent
No Nugent Is Good Nugent
GOP weeps over Nugent comments, but are these crocodile tears?

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 23, 2014

More 2014 Primaries
Run-Off Running Out of Steam
Run-Off Running Out of Steam
Final day of early voting in primaries

Richard Whittaker, May 23, 2014

Bell Rings for Kinky in Agriculture Race
Bell Rings for Kinky in Agriculture Race
Former Dem governor hopeful endorses man that helped him lose in '06

Richard Whittaker, May 7, 2014

More by Michael King
Council: Meet the Candidates
Council: Meet the Candidates
Names of city manager suitors may be revealed by the time you read this

Nov. 24, 2017

Health Care for All ... or Just Some?
Health Care for All ... or Just Some?
Misappropriating funds or marketing?

Nov. 24, 2017


2014 Primaries, March 2014 Election, Wendy Davis, Greg Abbott, Public School Funding, Judge John Dietz

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)