District Judge John Dietz said in his opinion that Texas hasn't provided adequate resources for schools to meet the state's new standards for student progress, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported Tuesday.
"We either want increased standards and are willing to pay the price or we don't," he said.
Dietz said he found wide disparities in state support received by school districts that are considered property poor and their wealthier peers. Texas doesn't have a state income tax and relies on local property taxes to fund its schools.
Two-thirds of Texas school districts have sued the state charging the legislature has failed to live up to its constitutional obligation to provide an "efficient system of public free schools."
Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams said the case is headed to the Texas Supreme Court.
"Today's bench ruling is simply one step on this litigation's path," Williams said.