School finance delays
Gardner Selby's new Statesman column is up with a rumor about why we don't have a school finance ruling:
The Texas Supreme Court was expected to rule on the legality and adequacy of public school funding by Oct. 1, a deadline set by a Travis County state district judge last year that has since been stayed with the case now under appeal.
According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson told an Austin audience Sept. 9 the court would try to meet the original deadline.
Nine weeks later, with the court locked on pause, a University of Texas audience heard a dramatic explanation for the stall: It's Gov. Rick Perry's politically advantageous strategy.
Paul Burka of Texas Monthly told an insider's conference on the 2006 elections last weekend that Perry has prevailed upon Jefferson to shelve the court's verdict until after party primaries March 7, sparing Perry and legislative candidates (especially incumbents) from having to hem and haw on how to please the court.
Houston lawyer David Thompson, representing school districts in the lawsuit, said he doesn't know how the court could sit on such a vital opinion.
"I don't put any stock in that," Thompson said.
Perry's press secretary, Kathy Walt, called the charge "absolutely untrue and irresponsible."
Jefferson said: "There has been no communication from the court, from any representative of this court, from any political organization, lobbyist or agent of the governor's office or employee who has communicated any request to or from me on school finance whatsoever."
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