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 ...

Schools and Taxes: The Next Big Thing

Texas Weekly

The primary elections come in less than five months. The general election is about a year away. When that's all out of the way, we'll all be talking about lawsuits — some that have been filed, some that will be filed later — on school finance and franchise taxes.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 10/10/11

Aaronson interactively asks if stimulus funds created jobs in Texas, Aguilar on new voter registrar rules that could decrease voter turnout, Galbraith on a UT professor's debunking of climate change "myths," Grissom on an epic clash of El Paso political titans, Hamilton on the right's new higher ed guru, Murphy maps household data from the 2010 Census, Ramsey on a coming rules fight in the Texas Senate, Root and M. Smith on Rick Perry's performance at the New Hampshire debate and M. Smith talks public ed cuts with the state's Superintendent of the Year: The best of our best content from October 10-14, 2011.

Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio
Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio

School Finance Suit Takes Shape

Texas Weekly

Within the education community, there have been rumors about a possible school finance lawsuit since well before the legislative session got under way. Now, with $4 billion less in public funding and a daunting new student assessment program on the horizon, those rumors have become a reality.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 8/8/11

Our all-hands-on-deck series on new laws — 31 Days, 31 Ways — continues, Root covers a challenge to the governor's school finance fix and the tax that makes it work, Philpott forecasts a presidential media tsunami will hit Texas, Murphy with a look at midyear campaign reports from candidates and PACs in Texas, yours truly on the quiet spot at the top of the 2014 ballot, Hamilton on government-required vaccinations against meningitis, Grissom reports on the heat wave in un-air-conditioned Texas jails, Aguilar on the private security business along the state's border with Mexico and M. Smith's interview with Nicole Hurd on how to get more high school students into college: The best of our best content from Aug. 8 to 12, 2011.

Texas teachers from Save Texas Schools crowd the hallway outside the House chamber protesting budget cuts on Saturday, May 21, 2011.
Texas teachers from Save Texas Schools crowd the hallway outside the House chamber protesting budget cuts on Saturday, May 21, 2011.

And Then There Were Taxes

Texas Weekly

A week has passed since school districts bracing for the worst at last got what they've been waiting for throughout the legislative session: finality. With the finance plan doling out the $4 billion reduction in state funding to schools firmly in place, they are now turning to the difficult work of finalizing their own budgets. In most instances, districts have already made cuts to programs and personnel for the upcoming school year, so that means looking at ways to find additional revenue. And that means dipping into fund balances, the school district equivalent of a Rainy Day Fund — or raising local property taxes.

A boy waves an American flag at an immigration rally held in Dallas on May Day.
A boy waves an American flag at an immigration rally held in Dallas on May Day.

The Brief: Top Texas News for July 1, 2011

Since most Texas counties have fireworks bans in effect this July 4 weekend, what better way to celebrate than recalling the legislative fireworks of recent weeks and imagining those still to come on the campaign trail?

Tourists enter the empty Senate chamber Wednesday morning as the Texas Senate adjourned sine die the day before, leaving the House with unfinished business on June 29, 2011.
Tourists enter the empty Senate chamber Wednesday morning as the Texas Senate adjourned sine die the day before, leaving the House with unfinished business on June 29, 2011.

How Will It Play?

Texas Weekly

Lawmakers have officially made their exit from the Pink Building, leaving two bills that will bring major changes to Texas school districts awaiting the governor's signature. Lawmakers, meanwhile, are wondering whether and how the two measures will play in next year's elections.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, moves away from the podium after moving to briefly postpone discussion on SB1 the budget bill on June 9, 2011.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, moves away from the podium after moving to briefly postpone discussion on SB1 the budget bill on June 9, 2011.

Fiscal Conservatives Frustrated With House Votes

 Rep. Donna Howard's proposal to direct surplus Rainy Day Fund money to Texas schools for enrollment growth survived to fight another day during debate on the House floor this morning, but not before a Republican attempt to derail it.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 5/30/11

Aaronson and Grissom on a freshman lawmaker who didn't mind making waves, Aguilar on E-Verify's new lease on life, Galbraith on the state's plodding progress toward solar power, Hamilton on Warren Chisum's exit, Philpott on the remapping of Lloyd Doggett's district, Ramsey on a proposed change to ethics laws for Texas pols, Ramshaw on efforts by the state to take control of Medicaid and Medicare, Root on why a Perry presidential bid shouldn't be underestimated, M. Smith on the unraveling of school finance legislation and Tan and Dehn on the highs and lows of the 82nd Legislative Session: The best of our best content from May 30 to June 3, 2011.

Former state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, shown in 2011, took the reins as chancellor of the Texas Tech University System in 2014.
Former state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, shown in 2011, took the reins as chancellor of the Texas Tech University System in 2014.

School Finance Returns to Senate Floor; What Next?

The full Senate is set to consider the bill known in its previous life as SB 1811 today. What's in it?  The exact same plan that state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filibustered Sunday night. "I think, fundamentally, we've reached an agreement about what were doing this year," says state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock.

Inside the Unraveling of School Finance Legislation

In the end, a late-night filibuster in the Senate killed school finance for the regular session. But SB 1581’s crash-and-burn in the House, which put a behind-closed-doors conference committee in charge of decisions about how to distribute $4 billion in cuts across school districts, is an odyssey worth revisiting as lawmakers take up the issue in their special session. 

Republican Senators gather on the floor awaiting sine die as no agreement is reached on SB1811 on May 30, 2011.
Republican Senators gather on the floor awaiting sine die as no agreement is reached on SB1811 on May 30, 2011.

House and Senate Adjourn; Special Session Tuesday

Both the House and Senate have adjourned sine die. But without a school finance deal in the Senate, Gov. Rick Perry is expected to call a special session for 8 a.m. Tuesday. "You reap what you sow," said Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden, "so we'll see what happens next." 

 

Gov. Rick Perry speaks to the press after leaving a school finance meeting between leaders in the House and Senate May 27, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry speaks to the press after leaving a school finance meeting between leaders in the House and Senate May 27, 2011.

Updated: A Deal on School Finance, Dewhurst Says

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said leaders in the House and Senate had agreed on a school finance plan as he left a meeting with education and budget chiefs from both chambers. As expected, it is the "hybrid of a hybrid" described by Sen. Florence Shapiro. 

TribLive with State Rep. Myra Crownover (l), State Rep. Larry Taylor (c) and Sen. Tommy Williams (r).
TribLive with State Rep. Myra Crownover (l), State Rep. Larry Taylor (c) and Sen. Tommy Williams (r).

AUDIO: Crownover, Taylor and Williams at TribLive

At this morning's TribLive conversation, I interviewed three veteran lawmakers — state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Lake Dallas, state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, and state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands — about how they and their Republican colleagues fared this session.

Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, debates a bill on the Senate floor on May 25, 2011.
Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, debates a bill on the Senate floor on May 25, 2011.

Budget Notes: School Finance Remains the Key

State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, and state Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, are still working to find some agreement on how to finance public schools over the next two years. Eissler and the House favor cutting funding to every school district by 6 percent. The Senate wants higher-wealth districts to take bigger cuts.