Senate School-Finance Hearing Takeaways

The Senate Education Committee and the overlapping Senate Finance workgroup on school finance held a four-hour hearing Friday to consider a wide spectrum of views on fixes needed in what all agree is a school-funding distribution system in serious need of renovation. Senate Education chair Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, had a message for all the witnesses, […]

State Senate’s School-Finance Workgroup Gets Started January 27

An initial hearing of the Senate Finance Committee’s newly created workgroup on school finance will occur on Friday, January 27, at 9:15 a.m. at the state Capitol. The workgroup and full Senate Education Committee will hear testimony jointly at that time, after a brief organizational meeting of the Education Committee. The school-finance hearing will include invited […]

First Day of School as Legislature Convenes for 140-Day Session

The action at the state Capitol on the first day of the 2017 legislative session was noteworthy mainly for what did not happen. There was literally no opposition to the re-election of House Speaker Joe Straus, who accordingly won 150 out of 150 votes. The meaning of the Straus re-election was apparent in his ensuing […]

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s 2017 Education Plans Panned

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s attempts to frame the education agenda of the 2017 legislative session starting in January continue to falter in the face of well-earned criticism. First his plan to make some version of private-school vouchers the Legislature’s foremost education priority met an icy reception in a hearing of the House Public Education Committee […]

School-Finance Hearing Exposes Ills of an Underfunded System

Two Texas House committees deserve credit for devoting 20 hours on September 28 and 29 to joint hearings that spotlighted the strains placed on Texas school districts by our underfunded state system of school finance. The hearings held by the budget-writing Appropriations Committee and the policy-making Public Education Committee drew vehement testimony from district after […]

Week of Hearings on Funding Issues, Including School Finance

On Tuesday the legislative and gubernatorial budget experts heard from the Texas Education Agency regarding school finance. The most important takeaway from this hearing was the acknowledgment that rising local property-tax values will translate into a substantial reduction in the state’s funding for public education. Assuming no changes in current formulas, state aid would decline […]

Report Ranks Texas Near Bottom in Child Well-Being

There is little for Texans to cheer about in the latest KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In this year’s report on various dimensions of child well-being, Texas continues to rank among the bottom 10 states—number 43, to be exact, two notches down from where the state ranked last year.  Improvements […]

A Texas Economist’s Case for Investing in Public Education

At a recent hearing of the Texas Senate Finance Committee, the well-regarded independent economist Ray Perryman made a powerful case for investing in public education as a matter of sound economics. Now Perryman has written an article along the same lines that we spotted in the June 9 Rio Grande Guardian. We think his argument, […]

Well Said: San Antonio Editorial on School Finance

Under the headline “School finance reform still needed,” the San Antonio Express-News editorial board yesterday captured the challenge facing Texas in the wake of the state supreme court’s decision upholding the constitutionality of the current funding system last month. The Express-News editors wrote: Can Texas do right by its students and improve public school finance […]

House Speaker Says School-Finance Fix Cannot Wait

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has responded to the May 13 Texas Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the state school-finance system by directing key House committees to work on needed solutions to festering school-funding issues. Straus announced the welcome directive with this statement: Texas House Speaker Joe Straus called on two House committees […]