One of the main issues that Texas Legislators will face during the upcoming Legislative Session is public school finance. The state's system of distributing funds to public school districts was brought to the Texas Supreme Court earlier this year. The court ruled that the state's system met constitutional requirements but has vast room for improvement.
The state's public school finance system that was under question is commonly known as the 'Robin Hood Program.' This program operates by requiring the wealthiest school districts to send part of their property tax revenue to the state for redistribution to help fund the poorest school districts in the state. Every child should receive a high quality education, regardless of their hometown, but the funding formula is now unbalanced.
When this program was initiated, local property taxes made up about 30 percent of school budgets with the state funding the other 70 percent. Today, public school funding percentages have flipped. The state now funds 30 percent of school budgets and local taxes are responsible for the other 70 percent. This inequity is unfair to both taxpayers and students.
State committees and panels have been researching and discussing ideas in preparation for the Legislative Session. Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus has made it clear that public school finance will be a top priority in the House of Representatives this session. This will be a complex issue to resolve but I will fight for the best interests of my constituents and our local school districts.