AUSTIN (AP/KXAN) - On her first day back from Thanksgiving break, the Austin schools superintendent was in a Travis County courtroom.
Dr. Meria Carstarphen testified for three hours Monday and will return Tuesday to answer more questions from attorneys representing the state. The Austin Independent School District is one of hundreds of school districts suing the state over the current school funding system.
"We are up against the wall on the ever increasing state standards and there is an expectation that we deliver on all of that in short order," said Carstarphen.
She told the judge the student population is drastically changing and a $60 million cut in state funding is not allowing them to provide the resources to help students be successful.
Carstarphen says about 60 percent of Austin students are Hispanic. About 64 percent are economically disadvantaged, which is more than 55,000 students. That is 14,000 more low-income students than 10 years ago. And for nearly 30 percent of students English is not their first language.
In addition, 30 percent of students are mobile -- meaning they move around a lot -- either changing addresses or changing campuses during a given school year.
"We've really tried to make the most of what we have, we have done well with some kids, but if the state expects all kids to be ready for college and careers and meet the standards on STAAR, it's not going to happen," said Carstarphen.
The case is expected to continue into January. Travis County District Judge John Dietz will then rule on six lawsuits challenging the way Texas funds its schools.
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