DALLAS - A state district judge ruled yesterday that a property-rich school district cannot circumvent a Texas school finance law and withhold millions of dollars in taxes from its poorer counterparts by extending a tax abatement to a large manufacturer.

Following a hearing a Austin yesterday, Judge Scott McCown declared any tax abatement extension provided after May 31, 1993, the law's effective date, would not change the state's assessment of a school district's property value or the amount of money it owes under equalized funding formulas.

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