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State Lawmakers Begin The Work Of School Finance Reform

Ryan Poppe
/
Texas Public Radio

House public education leaders are digging into a legislative effort deemed a priority by House Speaker Joe Straus this session, public school finance reform. 

Ahead of the start of the session, Speaker Straus, a San Antonio Republican made it clear, reforming how the state funds public schools is at the top of his legislative agenda.   

 

One of Straus’ ideas for reforming school finance is ending the state’s Robin Hood system.  That’s where the state redistributes tax money from property wealthy districts to help pay for schools in property poor districts.

 

State Rep. Dan Huberty, a Kingwood Republican is the chair of the House Public Education Committee, which heard testimony on the issue Tuesday.

 

“With the growth in property wealth what’s happening is the state is using more of those education dollars that should’ve been used to offset property taxes back home and we are using them for other purposes,” Huberty says.

 

But San Antonio ISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez says simply ending the State’s Robin Hood System, isn’t the answer.

 

“My community is paying more in property taxes than anywhere else in the state and yet we’re not raising no where near the revenues that Austin can raise, that Houston can raise, or Dallas because our property wealth is so low," he says.

 

Martinez says if state lawmakers are serious about reforming the Texas school finance system, they have to be  willing to adjust the funding formulas that a school district receives for each of its students and put more money in the state budget to fund public education.  

Copyright 2017 Texas Public Radio

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.