The big item on today’s otherwise quiet orders list is the Court formally accepting a case about the Texas school-finance system.

Schedule set in school finance cases

The Court has now formally said that it will hear this "direct appeal" of the school finance ruling that held certain portions of the system unconstitutional.

The Court has agreed to the briefing schedule suggested by the parties, which puts the briefs due on April 13, 2015 (for the State and others challenging the judgment); July 2, 2015 (for those defending the judgment); and a reply on August 11, 2015 (for the State and others challenging the judgment).

That briefing schedule extends beyond the July 1, 2015 deadline set by the trial court's order. The State's motion states its belief that this deadline was suspended automatically by the appeal.

The briefing schedule also permits the Legislature to finish its session (and perhaps even a special session). Both sides will have an opportunity to address how any new legislation might affect this case.

Based on this schedule, I would expect the Court to hear oral argument in September 2015.

The briefing so far just consists of very short notices of appeal ("jurisdictional statements") filed by four groups challenging aspects of the judgment below:

  • the State Defendants (the commissioner of education and others)

  • a group led by the Texas Charter School Association

  • a group led by the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition

  • a group of six school districts that have broken with the main group of plaintiffs (Calhoun ISD, Abernathy ISD, Aransas ISD, Frisco ISD, Lewisville ISD, and Richardson ISD)