Abbott Can End the School Finance Fight Now

Litigation expert shows Abbott has authority to settle the school finance lawsuit
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Greg Abbott’s ongoing contention that he is somehow obligated to continue the extensive and expensive school finance fight – by defending an unconstitutional school funding process and a $5 billion cut in Texas public school money – is simply false.

A detailed memo from David Richards, a former head of litigation at the Texas Attorney General’s office and one of our state’s most experienced and respected litigators, shows plainly that Abbott has the broad authority to pursue, stand down or settle litigation on behalf of the State of Texas. The memo reads:

“Without a doubt the office of Attorney General has ample authority to resolve pending lawsuits by settlement. Somewhat recent examples are the settlements in the long running Ruiz litigation over Texas prison conditions and Morales v. Turman, which was the suit against the Texas Youth Commission, as well as redistricting litigation in the 1980s, which was resolved by settlement and a consent decree.”

Abbott has dishonestly justified his aggressive legal actions against over 150 Texas school districts by saying his oath of office required him to defend the cuts.

Abbott’s failure to tell the truth about his actions and intentions reveal his hostility toward public schools. Some of Abbott’s most prominent backers want to divert taxpayer money for our neighborhood public schools to pay for private school vouchers.

Most disturbing, however, is how Abbott is stubbornly clinging to the false claim that he has no choice but to continue dragging Texas kids and their schools through court.

He can end the litigation anytime he chooses. He just doesn’t want to.

Rather than helping strengthen public schools and finding a way to free up enough funding, Abbott is choosing to defend a process and a policy that brought over $5 billion dollars in brutal cuts to Texas public schools.

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