Tribpedia: Public School Funding In Texas

Tribpedia

Texas public schools are funded by federal funds, state funds and local school district property taxes. The amount of state and local funds are determined by the Foundation School Program, a state program administered by the Texas Education Agency.

The program is responsible for ensuring that all public school districts receive equal access to funding per student regardless of the ...

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Analysis: Ruling Provides Candidates a Talking Point

District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.
District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.

As candidates in the general election focus on making themselves known to voters, the latest school finance ruling provides their clearest marching orders yet. They have to figure out the balance between property taxes voters do not like and the public education system they demand. 

After a trial that lasted more than three months, Judge John Dietz ruled in February that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional.
After a trial that lasted more than three months, Judge John Dietz ruled in February that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional.

Texas School Finance Trial Enters Phase Two

Lawyers representing nearly two-thirds of Texas school districts in a lawsuit against the state argued Tuesday that not only was a 2013 legislative funding boost short term, but that other changes had increased costs for schools.

 

Parents look over books and ask questions about curriculum during a parent information session for the new Great Hearts Monte Vista Charter School to open in San Antonio at Temple Beth-El, October 29, 2013.
Parents look over books and ask questions about curriculum during a parent information session for the new Great Hearts Monte Vista Charter School to open in San Antonio at Temple Beth-El, October 29, 2013.

Top Academics but Little Diversity at Two New Charters

Two new Arizona-based charter school operators have come to Texas promising an intensely focused curriculum and a collegiate atmosphere. But along with their lofty academic goals come extra fees for parents and a record of serving disproportionately affluent and white students. 

Latisha Andrews is shown on the playground of Beta Academy, which is housed at the Christian Temple Assembly of God Church in Houston on Aug. 6, 2013. She is applying to convert the private school into a charter school.
Latisha Andrews is shown on the playground of Beta Academy, which is housed at the Christian Temple Assembly of God Church in Houston on Aug. 6, 2013. She is applying to convert the private school into a charter school.

Charter Schools in Churches a Focus of Praise, Concerns

Since the charter school system was established in 1995, schools with ties to faith-based organizations have cropped up in cities across Texas. Proponents say such moves are a result of smart budgeting, but critics have concerns about oversight and worry that faith-based instruction could enter some classrooms.

After a trial that lasted more than three months, Judge John Dietz ruled in February that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional.
After a trial that lasted more than three months, Judge John Dietz ruled in February that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional.

Texas School Finance Trial Goes for Round Two

After hearing brief arguments on whether to reopen evidence in the school finance case because of laws passed during the legislative session, state district court Judge John Dietz announced Wednesday that a new, six-week trial will begin in January.

Kent Grusendorf at The Texas Tribune Festival on September 22, 2012.
Kent Grusendorf at The Texas Tribune Festival on September 22, 2012.

Kent Grusendorf: The TT Interview

The former House public education chairman on the politics of education policy in Texas, why big school-choice reforms didn't happen this session, what's next in the school finance trial and why he doesn't like the word "voucher." 

After a trial that lasted more than three months, Judge John Dietz ruled in February that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional.
After a trial that lasted more than three months, Judge John Dietz ruled in February that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional.

Lawyers Ask to Reopen Evidence in School Finance Trial

State District Court Judge John Dietz will hear new evidence the sweeping school finance trial that concluded in February to consider the effects of changes made during the recent legislative session. 

District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.
District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.

Whatever Became of That School Finance Ruling?

Texas Weekly

State District Court Judge John Dietz said in February that a detailed ruling on the state's school finance system would be released by mid-March. It’s now June, and there is still no final decision in the sweeping lawsuit involving more than two-thirds of Texas school districts that arose after the Legislature eliminated roughly $5.4 billion from state public education funding in 2011.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on opening day of 83rd Legislative Session, Jan. 8, 2013
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on opening day of 83rd Legislative Session, Jan. 8, 2013

Dewhurst: Put Some Money Aside for School Lawsuits

The state should set aside some money for the pending school finance lawsuits, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Wednesday. In a wide-ranging interview with the Tribune, he also talked about the state budget, education, immigration, water, transportation, and his hopes and plans for the legislative session that began this week. 

At Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Keenan Hurley (left), 18, and Roby Attal, 17, react to missing their target during a physics lesson on projectile motion that used Hot Wheels cars.
At Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Keenan Hurley (left), 18, and Roby Attal, 17, react to missing their target during a physics lesson on projectile motion that used Hot Wheels cars.

For Some Teachers, Strain Runs Deeper Than Budget Cuts

Some potential costs of the Legislature's more than $5 billion budget cut to public schools, like a loss of morale and rising stress levels in classrooms, aren't easily measured. But the pressure on teachers may have more complex origins than 2011’s reduction in state funding.  

Students at Austin ISD's Casis Elementary explore the pond in their newly built outdoor classroom.
Students at Austin ISD's Casis Elementary explore the pond in their newly built outdoor classroom.

Public Schools Turn to Parents' Dollars for Support

Parents are opening their pocketbooks to fund everything from outdoor classrooms to extra teaching positions in public schools when state and district money falls short. And while no one argues that a local community’s involvement in its schools is a negative, the influx of private dollars concerns civil rights advocates who say it only exacerbates the existing inequities in the public school system.

Some officeholders have raised the idea of replacing Texas' property tax with a larger sales tax. But that could create some new fiscal challenges.
Some officeholders have raised the idea of replacing Texas' property tax with a larger sales tax. But that could create some new fiscal challenges.

The Search for a Less Unpopular School Tax

As the state and its independent school districts head to court again in October to debate school financing, it's still possible that the issue of a statewide property tax could be revisited. But such a move would require repealing a constitutional prohibition. And there's also a policy debate about replacing the property tax with a higher sales tax.