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Once again, the Texas school finance system has been ruled unconstitutional.

The case will be heading to the Texas Supreme Court for a final decision, likely later this year.

State District Judge John Deitz in Austin announced his decision late Monday afternoon, a ruling that is a slam-dunk victory for the some 600 school districts that challenged the school finance law.

After billions of dollars in budget cuts in 2011... and demands for more accountability from the Republican-controlled legislature... Judge Dietz said the state isn't putting enough money into schools.

About two-thirds of districts in the state including many in North Texas that are big and small, property poor and wealthy and those with a lot of Spanish-speaking students sued.

Judge Dietz said the state must spend more.

"We feel the judge made very clear that we have increased our expectations of school districts in the state, but we haven't increased our resources to match," said John Turner, the attorney representing the Texas School Coalition, a group of property-wealthy school districts.

An attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, David Hinojosa, praised the ruling. "It's a great civil rights victory for the children who are learning English in our schools, and not being able to achieve the standards the state has put in place," he said.

Although school districts won what they wanted, charter schools did not.

The judge ruled the the law that caps the number of charter schools and doesn't permit state financing for the construction of charters is constitutional.

The state will appeal Judge Dietz' decision to the Texas Supreme Court, where the case will likely be heard later this year.

Depending on what the Supreme Court decides, state lawmakers could be back at work next year to figure out how to pay for a solution.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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