School Finance

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  • Senate Panel Considers Bill to Simplify School Finance Formula

    by Aliyya Swaby, The Texas Tribune Year Published: April 2017

    "The proposed formula would provide the same base per-student funding to every district, with additional money for students in four specific groups: English language learners, students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students and students receiving training for technical jobs. That funding would then be multiplied by the local district's tax rate. Districts with higher property tax rates would get more money than those with lower property tax rates. This proposal would keep the state's Robin Hood system, which requires districts that collect more property tax revenue to subsidize those that collect less. It would also provide funding to help districts cover student transportation costs as needed." Read the full article.

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  • School Districts Beg Senate Panel to Keep Expiring State Aid Program

    by Aliyya Swaby, The Texas Tribune Year Published: April 2017

    "Kolkhorst said she proposed the bill to help struggling school districts, not those for which the extra money represents a "luxury." Keeping the program would cost the state $400 million over the next two years, according to the Legislative Budget Board. That money is not currently in the proposed budget the Senate voted out last month — a major barrier for passage." Read the full article.

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  • House Leader Announces $1.6B School Funding Plan

    by Aliyya Swaby, The Texas Tribune Year Published: March 2017

    "The top public education policymaker in the Texas House unveiled a $1.6 billion plan on Monday that he described as a first step to overhauling the state’s beleaguered school funding system." Read the article.

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  • Analysis: Texas Makes Do with Broken but Legal School Finance System

    by Ross Ramsey, The Texas Tribune Year Published: February 2017

    "Consider that: $2 billion of the money schools get from the state is money that the state gets from schools. The state’s share of public education spending has dropped over the past decade; in fact, Texas is spending about $339 per student less this year than it did in 2008, according to the Legislative Budget Board. Local spending rose $990 per student over the same period." Read the full editorial.

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  • Analysis: The State’s Declining Support for Public Education in Texas

    by Ross Ramsey, The Texas Tribune Year Published: December 2016
    “School property taxes are rising as local school costs increase, while the state gradually decreases its share of public education spending. At the same time, according to the outgoing chairman of the Texas House’s Public Education Committee, the Legislature is spending more than $2 billion a year that would have gone to public education on other programs and services in the state budget. … School boards set property taxes and get the blame for it — even when those increases are forced by the Legislature’s steadily declining financial support for public education.” Read the full article.
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  • Are Your Property Taxes Too High? Thank a Legislator.

    by R.G. Ratcliffe, Texas Montly Year Published: February 2017

    "Property taxes are collected by local school districts—but it’s the Legislature that makes the rules on how those funds are distributed. And the rules are a complex school-funding formula that has put a greater burden on property-tax payers to pay for the state’s public schools while simultaneously reducing the state’s share of the expenses." Read the full article.

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  • Kevin Brown

    Everything is Bigger in Texas – Except Public Education

    by Kevin Brown, superintendent, Alamo Heights ISD Year Published: June 2016
    "In a state as grand and glorious as ours, we like to boast about being the biggest and the best on a regular basis. Texas has a lot to brag about, but when it comes to funding our public schools, Texas should be ashamed. Regardless of how you crunch the numbers and adjust for cost of living or what year of data you use, Texas always ranks near the bottom nationally in funding." Read the full article.
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  • Public School Funding and “TAXPARENCY”

    by Taxparency Texas Year Published: 2016
    “During that same time period (2008 to 2017), the state’s share of funding public education has decreased from 44.9% to 38.4%, while the local share (primarily property taxes) has grown from 44.8% to 51.5%. So, while schools are struggling to meet the demands of an increasingly at-risk student population, pay  teachers competitive market salaries and benefits, and provide technology, facilities and programs that will benefit all students, the state has actually been reducing its share of funding public education.” Read the full article.
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  • Texas Supreme Court Rules School Funding System is Constitutional

    by Kiah Collier, The Texas Tribune Year Published: May 2016

    "The Texas Supreme Court has issued a ruling upholding the state’s public school funding system as constitutional, while also urging state lawmakers to implement 'transformational, top-to-bottom reforms that amount to more than Band-Aid on top of Band-Aid.' But without a court order directing the Legislature to fix specific provisions in the system, school groups worry that lawmakers will either do nothing or something outside the box." Read the full article.

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Related Capitol Watch Alerts

2017 Report on School Mandates: Cost Drivers in Public Education

  • Each session, TASA and TASB update the “Report on School District Mandates: Cost Drivers in Education,” a comprehensive list of state mandates placed on school districts that contribute significantly to the rising costs of public education. The document, first compiled in 2002, encompasses the majority of mandates passed since 1995 but does not contain a complete list of all mandates on Texas school districts. It includes only those Texas laws and regulations that are likely to impose significant implementation costs either collectively or by themselves.

    The goal of the revised report is to assist school leaders in identifying the most significant unfunded or underfunded mandates and in calculating the cost of implementing those mandates in their districts. School officials can help legislators understand the number of unfunded or underfunded mandates imposed on school districts by quantifying the costs of existing mandates, estimating the costs of mandates proposed during subsequent legislative sessions, and continuing to dialogue with their legislative representatives.

    Download the 2017 report.

    See the 2015 report.