If you ever wondered why Texas gets hauled into court every few years to defend its method of public school finance, take a look at what happened in two Tarrant County elections last week.Voters in the wealthy and highly rated Southlake Carroll school district, faced with a proposed half-cent net increase in their property taxes, said something like, "No, our schools are fine. We have no reason to pay more."In the Crowley school district (partly in Johnson County and rural Tarrant County, but mostly in south and southwest Fort Worth) the proposal was to raise the property tax rate a comparatively huge 13 cents. "Yes," Crowley district voters said, "our school district needs help, and we will give it."Both were rational choices, but the background shows once again that, when it comes to public education in Texas, what you get and how much you pay for it depends a lot on where you live.Carroll residents can afford not to worry about their schools. Student test scores and other factors mean their 7,800-student district and all 12 of its individual campuses are rated "exemplary," the highest-possible rating from the Texas Education Agency.The average home value in the district is $467,580. TEA measures the district's wealth at $673,554 per "weighted" student, a measure that takes into account students with special needs and other factors that require more educational resources.TEA rates the Crowley district "academically acceptable," far from "exemplary" and not yet "recognized" but still not at the bottom-rung "academically unacceptable" category. Unfortunately, five of the district's 21 schools are rated "academically unacceptable."Typical lifestyles in the Crowley district are quite different from those in the Carroll district. The average home value is $135,000. TEA says wealth per "weighted" student is $276,572, significantly less than half that in Carroll.The sharp difference in wealth is why the state's school finance system this year is expected to require Carroll to send an estimated $15.1 million of its property tax revenue to be redistributed to less-wealthy districts.In the Crowley district, officials there say, the school finance system adopted by the Legislature yields about $1,154 less per pupil than the state average. The district has done its part to cut the budget. The new tax rate approved by voters will bring revenue roughly back even with expenses.When all is said and done, including all state aid to the Crowley district and tax-revenue-sharing by Carroll, Crowley taxpayers will pay a significantly higher property tax rate ($1.67 for each $100 in taxable property value) than those in Carroll ($1.42 for each $100 in taxable value).The portion of the tax rate that pays for daily operations will remain $1.04 in Carroll but will go to $1.17 in the Crowley district.With its lower rating and five "unacceptable" schools, the Crowley district clearly needs extra effort. Its taxpayers deserve credit for taking on that burden. It's a shame they don't have more help.Five lawsuits challenging the state's school finance system have been consolidated into one, and a trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 22 in Austin. It's the latest in a long line of such suits, which have resulted in successive court-ordered changes in the system.Signs point in that same direction again.