Tribpedia: School Finance

School finance describes the method in which Texas public schools are funded. Public elementary and secondary education in Texas is financed by a combination of state and local revenue.

The local source of operating revenue for school districts is the property tax. This is what leads to wide disparities in education spending, as some districts with expensive commercial property have ...

State Asks Supreme Court to Drop School Finance Lawsuit

Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller addresses the state Supreme Court on Tuesday. The state's highest civil court agreed to hear the state's appeal of a 2014 lower court ruling that struck down the state's method of funding public schools as unconstitutional. (AP/Eric Gay)
Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller addresses the state Supreme Court on Tuesday. The state's highest civil court agreed to hear the state's appeal of a 2014 lower court ruling that struck down the state's method of funding public schools as unconstitutional. (AP/Eric Gay)

“Money isn’t pixie dust” when it comes to improving public schools, lawyers for the state of Texas told the state Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing an appeal in what has been described as the most far-reaching school finance case in state history. They urged the high court to either dismiss or remand the lawsuit brought four years ago by nearly two-thirds of the state's school districts.

 

The Texas Supreme Court convenes in the House chamber for a special ceremony on November 11, 2013.
The Texas Supreme Court convenes in the House chamber for a special ceremony on November 11, 2013.

Analysis: Education Funding With a Judicial Assist

The Texas Supreme Court is about to hear the latest challenge to the state's financing of public schools. Maybe they'll throw it out, but history says otherwise: This almost always means changes in school policy and increases in taxes.

A reading assistant reads on the classroom floor with a small group of fourth graders at Wanke Elementary School in San Antonio on March 9, 2012.
A reading assistant reads on the classroom floor with a small group of fourth graders at Wanke Elementary School in San Antonio on March 9, 2012.

Analysis: Texas Schools, by the Numbers

You can peek at the state’s near future in the latest numbers from the Texas Education Agency: 51.8 percent Hispanic, 29.4 percent Anglo, 12.7 percent African-American, 3.7 percent Asian.  And 29 percent of the state’s students are enrolled in just 18 of the state's school districts.

Analysis: Does "Voucher" Label Fit the Bill?

You can slow down or even kill a piece of legislation with a single word or phrase, if it's poisonous enough. One such loaded word is "voucher." Critics are using that term to describe a school scholarship proposal that has won the Senate's approval. But backers say the proposal is a tax credit and not the kind of voucher program that seems to merit automatic dismissal from lawmakers.

House Public Education Committee chair Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, on the floor during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.
House Public Education Committee chair Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, on the floor during House Bill 1 debate March 31, 2015.

School Finance Plan Praised in Capitol Hearing

A plan to overhaul the state’s public education funding system from a top House lawmaker received largely favorable reviews from school districts during a marathon legislative hearing that ended late Tuesday night.

Rep. John Otto R-Dayton, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, during Tribune Conversation event on February 12th, 2015
Rep. John Otto R-Dayton, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, during Tribune Conversation event on February 12th, 2015

Otto Touts Plan to Simplify School Finance System

The House’s chief budget writer on Thursday praised a proposal to overhaul the school finance system by grouping the state’s 1,026 regular school districts into a few "school finance districts" — a tax move aimed at equalizing per-student funding statewide. 

 

 

Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen listens to HB5 debate in House on March 26th, 2013. There are currently 165 amendments to the bill and debate is expected to go well into the night
Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen listens to HB5 debate in House on March 26th, 2013. There are currently 165 amendments to the bill and debate is expected to go well into the night

Education Chairman Calls for School Finance Discussion

State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, the chairman of the House Public Education Committee, said Texas lawmakers shouldn't wait for the outcome of a sprawling school finance lawsuit to discuss changes to the state's public education funding system.

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.

AG to Appeal School Finance Ruling to Supreme Court

UPDATED: Attorney General Greg Abbott will appeal a ruling that the Texas school finance system is unconstitutional, according to a notice his office sent Friday to attorneys in the case. The appeal is set to go directly to the Texas Supreme Court.

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.

Moody's: School Finance Ruling is "Credit Positive"

Moody's Investors Service described a judge's declaration of the state's school finance system as unconstitutional as a “credit positive,” saying the ruling would compel Texas lawmakers to “redesign the school finance system.”

Shelley Dahlberg, an assistant attorney general, spoke to District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin on on Feb. 3, 2013, during closing arguments of a trial challenging the state's school finance system.
Shelley Dahlberg, an assistant attorney general, spoke to District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin on on Feb. 3, 2013, during closing arguments of a trial challenging the state's school finance system.

Texplainer: What's State's Strategy in School Finance Case?

Hey, Texplainer: I know the state plans to appeal a judge's recent decision that Texas' school finance system is unconstitutional. But what will the state's defense be moving forward?

Shelley Dahlberg, an assistant attorney general, spoke to District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin on on Feb. 3, 2013, during closing arguments of a trial challenging the state's school finance system.
Shelley Dahlberg, an assistant attorney general, spoke to District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin on on Feb. 3, 2013, during closing arguments of a trial challenging the state's school finance system.

In School Finance Battle, Legal Fees Accumulate

If the Texas school districts that are challenging the constitutionality of the state’s school finance system ultimately prevail in their lawsuit, a result could be billions of dollars in extra funding from the state’s coffers for public education. And more than $8.5 million would also go from the state to the four teams of lawyers representing them. 

State Sens. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and Dan Patrick, R-Houston, will face off against each other in the general election for lieutenant governor.
State Sens. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and Dan Patrick, R-Houston, will face off against each other in the general election for lieutenant governor.

Van de Putte Hits Patrick on School Finance Votes

Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, said Wednesday that her GOP opponent, Dan Patrick, was “rewriting history” by taking credit for the restoration of some education funding cuts. Patrick's campaign hit back at the criticism.

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.

Analysis: Ruling Provides Candidates a Talking Point

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. 

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.

Analysis: Finding Property Tax Cuts That Taxpayers Feel

The problem with trying to lower property taxes at the state level is that the taxpayers — voters — often do not see the benefits. Rising local budgets and increases in property values blot out the gains, and the way the taxes are paid makes changes almost invisible.