AUSTIN -- Before declaring Texas' public school finance system unconstitutional on Monday, state District Judge John Dietz offered a hypothetical.A vast majority of Texans want the state's students to have an education system challenging enough to prepare them for the high-tech jobs of tomorrow, Dietz said.But if those same Texans were told that doing so would cost an additional $2,000 per student -- or between $10 and $11 billion extra in every two-year budget -- that support would quickly evaporate, he said."Now what I begin to hear from my vast majority is, 'you can't solve the problems of education by throwing money at it,'" Dietz said.Dietz's ruling was in favor of more than 600 school districts statewide that sued the state after the Legislature cut $5.4 billion from public education funding in 2011. The figure Dietz offered could mean that he thinks the state will have find funding to cover more than double the amount cut -- and that was simply a hypothetical. The actual number may be even larger.The case before Dietz was the sixth of its kind in Texas since 1984, and in the past, courts have sometimes ordered the state to spend a specific amount per pupil to meet its constitutional obligations. Dietz offered no such figure. Instead, he simply ruled that the way Texas funds its schools violates the state constitution because the Legislature has raised academic standards while simultaneously cutting education funding, and hasn't ensured that that funding is equally distributed to school districts in wealthy and poorer parts of the state.Still, if his decision holds, Texas will have to find many billions of extra dollars for its schools."We would have to modernize our tax system," said Scott McCown, executive director of the progressive think tank the Center for Public Policy Priorities. McCown said finding even the additional revenue Dietz suggested would mean applying the state sales tax to services and collecting more business taxes.McCown is a former state district judge in Travis County who presided over school finance lawsuits for years before Dietz.Indeed, $10 billion is more than the state has recently collected annually from its business tax. But former Democratic state Rep. Scott Hochberg, a school finance expert, said such a tally might now require drastic overhauls: "The Legislature's used to big numbers."The Texas Constitution forbids a state income tax, meaning the school finance system is built on what schools districts can raise in local property taxes -- with state dollars used to fill in the funding gaps. Catherine Clark, associate executive director for Governmental Relations at the Texas Association of School Boards, conceded that any steep funding increase would be a tough sell for a Republican-dominated Legislature."Many other states collect much more revenue per capita than ours," Clark said."We might not want to be like some of those other states, but we might decide we want to make an important investment in the future."The Texas Public Policy Foundation, an influential conservative think tank, countered that more state funds for schools isn't the answer."This ruling doubles down on that status quo: school spending in Texas has grown rapidly over the last decade, with few academic gains to show for it," said James Golsan, the group's Center for Education policy analyst.But Dietz based his ruling on a chart from the nonpartisan Legislative Budget Board showing that while state spending on schools has increased and is now approaching $48 billion, when adjusted for inflation spending has actually held steady at around $30 billion between 2002 and 2011.And that's amid a population boom that has seen enrollment growth in public schools increase by an average of more than 70,000 students per year, and academic standards have gotten far tougher over the same period.