Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Also on the agenda, how to fund education in Texas?

I'm not as well versed in this story as I'd like to be, but Texas is looking at a major overhaul of how education is funded in the state.

Currently, schools depend mainly on property taxes. In a simplification - this led to issued with poorer areas having poorer schools and lower quality of education. To ameliorate this problem 'Robin Hood' legislation was enacted to shift funds from wealthier areas to those with lower property taxes. But, I think the name says alot about how people feel about that (steal from the rich...) In 2004, the Texas State Supreme court ruled this type of funding unconstitutional.

This has led to a special legislative session called by Gov Rick Perry.

While lawmakers want to lower sky-high property taxes, they have stalemated repeatedly on how to replace that revenue – about $6 billion – with other taxes. Meanwhile, Mr. Dewhurst wants new money for schools, while Mr. Perry opposes raising taxes to pay for such reforms.

The two Republican leaders did unite on one issue: They both opposed a plan being circulated in the House that would usurp the state’s entire $4.5 billion surplus to lower property taxes, at least temporarily, without an offsetting tax bill. The plan would drop business and residential property taxes about 12 percent, and lawmakers could go home and tackle longer-term solutions when they return for the regular session in January.

“I recognize there are some folks who view our $4 billion-plus budget surplus as money that can be used to buy tickets for the fast train out of town,” Mr. Perry said, but he warned it would be a mistake. “We need to look at the long-term solution here, not just a short-term, quick fix.”

In the Coppell Independent School District, we pay very high property taxes to maintain the school system so I'm very curious to see how this pans out:
2003-2004 (per AEIS)
According to the state's most recently released (2003-04) Academic Indicator System (AEIS) report, the district's financial data is as follows:

Expenditure Per-Pupil $7,793
Total Budget $77,075,698
Percent Distribution of Revenue
Local 87.9 %
State 10.4 %
Federal 1.8 %

Tax Rate/$100 Assessed Valuation $1.735

CISD’s Recapture Payment (“Robin Hood”) was $26,198,913

Note: The AEIS report is released in January based on the previous year's data.

No comments: