Texas House to try sweeping school finance fix amid court fight

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, and Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor, right, present a package of bills during a news conference outside the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The bills include a plan to issue A-F grades for individual public schools, plus expanded online learning and some proposals link teacher evaluations to pay raises and allow parents to petition to close failing public schools after just two years, instead of the current five. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The House will attempt to fix the troubled way Texas pays for public schools without waiting for the conclusion of an ongoing court battle — starting by pouring $3 billion back into classrooms.

The chamber's top education leader, Republican Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, said Wednesday he's hammering out an ambitious, bipartisan plan overhauling the school finance system. It includes the House putting $3 billion more for schools in its draft state budget.

A district court judge has declared Texas' school finance system unconstitutional, saying funding is inadequate and unfairly distributed.

Aycock acknowledged that any changes lawmakers approve this session could be voided by the Texas Supreme Court, which will hear the case on appeal.

He also said more school funding could clash with Senate plans prioritizing deep tax cuts.

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