From the Annals of Civil Disobedience – In 1968, 400 high school students from Edgewood HS in San Antonio walked out of class and marched to the Edgewood ISD administration office. The EISD was overwhelmingly Hispanic with 90% of students of Mexican heritage. The students were complaining about inadequate supplies and unqualified teachers.
The walk-out resulted in further action. In July, Demetrio Rodríguez and seven other Edgewood parents filed suit on behalf of Texas schoolchildren who were poor or resided in school districts with low property-tax bases. The problem resulted from the numerous school districts in Texas. Bexar County incorporates all or part of 19 different school districts – many of which were set up to segregate students of different races. EISD had one of the highest tax rates in the county but raised only $37 per pupil, while Alamo Heights, Bexar County’s wealthiest district, raised $413 per student. Because of the vastly different appraised value of the property in the districts, the tax rate per $100 property value needed to equalize education funding was only $0.68 for Alamo Heights but a punishing $5.76 for Edgewood.
Thus, began the decades long fight over school funding in Texas. The Rodriguez case ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court which ultimately ruled against Rodríguez, holding that Texas’ school financing did not violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution and punted the issue back to Texas. The Court also held that the state would not be required to subsidize poorer school districts. But this was not the end as most observers know and the fight over school funding continues.