Facts and insights about Texas public schools
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Texas Is Shirking Its Responsibility to Fund Public Schools

A new article in the Rio Grande Guardian says that property-poor and -rich districts in Texas agree that the state is shirking its responsibility to fund public schools.

“The only way we have ever been able to fix this has been to sue the state of Texas,” said Missy Bender, board president for property-rich Plano ISD. Following the last successful school finance lawsuit, the state funded about 50 percent of the cost of public education. Since then, the state has steadily reduced its share of the total cost to 38 percent. Bender said Plano ISD will be bankrupt in four years if the state continues to decrease its investment in public schools.

Chandra Villanueva, program director for the Center for Public Policy Priorities, said the state hasn’t done anything to maintain its level of investment since 2004‒05. Also, local tax dollars go in first, putting poor and rich districts at a disadvantage. “…You are able to fill your own bucket sooner. So, we are not letting our school districts share in the state’s economic prosperity, unlike cities and counties who see an increase in their revenues when development happens. It is the state that benefits, not our schools,” Villanueva said.

Bender feels that the state is at a tipping point. “I feel like the education, business, parent, and community organizations are all coming together to say you must place your attention on this topic. We care about education in Texas and if we don’t address this now, when will we?” Bender said.

Read “School officials: State of Texas is shirking its responsibility for public education funding,” by Steve Taylor, Rio Grande Guardian.

December 19, 2018