Texas Joint Interim Committee to Study School Finance

Young boy protests school budget cuts during the Texas American Federation of Teachers rally at the Capitol. March 14th, 2011.
Young boy protests school budget cuts during the Texas American Federation of Teachers rally at the Capitol. March 14th, 2011.

Texas lawmakers announced today that they would form a joint interim committee to study the state's school finance system. 

That comes as more than 500 school districts representing 3 million Texas students have signed up to sue the state over public education funding — largely because of the $5.4 billion budget cuts enacted during the last legislative session.

The committee will be chaired by Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, and Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.

As they debated school finance on the floor during the legislative session, House members repeatedly said they needed more study of the system to understand how the budget cuts were affecting public schools. After it became clear that the House had run out of time to pass its own plan, Aycock in particular said that he hoped his colleagues would use the interim to brush up on school finance. 

Some observers question whether lawmakers will touch school finance in the next session because of the looming litigation, which likely won't be resolved until after they leave town. 

In the Senate, the other members are Bob Deuell, R-Greenville; Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock; Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound; Dan Patrick, R-Houston; Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo; Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio; Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio; Royce West, D-Dallas; and Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands.

In the House, they are Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston; Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas; Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands; Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City; Donna Howard, D-Austin; Dan Huberty, R-Houston; Susan King, R-Abilene; Todd Smith, R-Euless; Vicki Truitt, R-Keller; and Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio.

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