08-9-04 - AUSTIN (AP) - A Travis County judge began listening to arguments Monday in a lawsuit challenging the way the state of Texas finances public education.
Hundreds of Texas school districts, both rich and poor, have joined the lawsuit against the state. They argue that Texas schools are under funded and that a cap on local property taxes amounts to an illegal statewide property tax.
They say Texas has fallen short of its constitutional responsibility to provide "a general diffusion of knowledge."
The state contends it has met and exceeded basic minimums set forth in the Constitution.
The trial could last more than a month. Whatever the final ruling of state District Judge John Dietz, the decision is expected to be appealed to a higher court.
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