There’s been a lot of talk about how the
Texas public school finance system needs to be fixed. But what’s wrong with the
current system? Let’s take a look. The system supports more than 5.3 million students 8,700 campuses, and 1,200 school districts and charters. It’s complex, but understanding the basics, and why it isn’t working, is relatively simple. Think of funding schools in Texas
as filling up a glass. The size of the glass represents the amount of money the system uses to educate all of our students. Texas gives the state legislature the responsibility to decide how big the glass is and how it gets filled. Funding education is a shared commitment between local property taxpayers and the state. When the modern Texas school funding system
was created in 1993, state and local contributions were roughly even. This shared responsibility felt right, and fair. As property values in Texas began rising
after the 2008 financial crisis, however, the state share started to decline. In 2019, the state share is projected to be only 38%, and it will continue to decline to historic lows
without significant change. This decline has saved the state
billions of dollars over time – savings that could have been invested
back into our public schools. So how does this affect Texas taxpayers? It means the state is relying more on local taxes
to fund public schools. It also means when your property increases in value
and your taxes rise, your public schools don’t see additional benefit. Wait, that doesn’t seem right, does it? Shouldn’t money intended for schools
stay in our schools? If the state saves billions from
increased local property taxes, shouldn’t that savings go to improve and expand student programs and pay our teachers more? Instead, that savings is going to other things
in state budget, while spending on Texas students remains flat, despite higher expectations and rising costs. That also doesn’t seem right, does it? So what’s the solution? Money intended for our schools should stay in our schools. The state should invest more in our
programs, teachers, and students. Their future, our state’s future, is worth every penny.