The Basics of Texas School Finance


There’s been a lot of talk about how the
Texas public school finance system needs to be fixed. But what’s wrong with the
current system? Let’s take a look. The system supports more than 5.3 million students 8,700 campuses, and 1,200 school districts and charters. It’s complex, but understanding the basics, and why it isn’t working, is relatively simple. Think of funding schools in Texas
as filling up a glass. The size of the glass represents the amount of money the system uses to educate all of our students. Texas gives the state legislature the responsibility to decide how big the glass is and how it gets filled. Funding education is a shared commitment between local property taxpayers and the state. When the modern Texas school funding system
was created in 1993, state and local contributions were roughly even. This shared responsibility felt right, and fair. As property values in Texas began rising
after the 2008 financial crisis, however, the state share started to decline. In 2019, the state share is projected to be only 38%, and it will continue to decline to historic lows
without significant change. This decline has saved the state
billions of dollars over time – savings that could have been invested
back into our public schools. So how does this affect Texas taxpayers? It means the state is relying more on local taxes
to fund public schools. It also means when your property increases in value
and your taxes rise, your public schools don’t see additional benefit. Wait, that doesn’t seem right, does it? Shouldn’t money intended for schools
stay in our schools? If the state saves billions from
increased local property taxes, shouldn’t that savings go to improve and expand student programs and pay our teachers more? Instead, that savings is going to other things
in state budget, while spending on Texas students remains flat, despite higher expectations and rising costs. That also doesn’t seem right, does it? So what’s the solution? Money intended for our schools should stay in our schools. The state should invest more in our
programs, teachers, and students. Their future, our state’s future, is worth every penny.

5 thoughts on “The Basics of Texas School Finance

  1. I hate this video I was so exited to learn how schools were funded and how the funding model is broken, then in a populist twist the solution is to just pay for it? How do we bring the form being model back to a fifty/fifty balance? Only Then can decisions be made on how to prioritize expenditures. Please answer HOW to balance the finance model. I pay one of the highest property tax rates in the country and live a stones throw from the poorests zip codes.

    Also, don't you think it's a bit disrespectful to talk about spending taxes without talking about how to alleviate the already horrible tax burden?

  2. Far too many false/misleading data points in this video. It would be best get your facts on school funding from somewhere else.

  3. This is a bit misleading. State school funding has increased with inflation. Funding per student is pegged to the Austin ISD spending levels. The gap started after the financial crisis in 2009. State funding did dip as the economy suffered, but schools refused to cut spending. As the economy recovered, property values rose higher then the inflation rate. So while State funding came back, it was only in line with the inflation rate of 2%. Property rose 8-10%, and the schools kept spending more, while State funding just increased by inflation rate. If the ISDs just spent at the CPI rate, the gap would not have gotten so wide.

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