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 witnesses only. At this writing those invited have not yet been identified.
As noted in a previous Hotline, Senate Finance chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has directed the school-finance workgroup to work from a “clean slate,” not assuming the continuation of any features of the existing funding system. The Friday hearing will be a first chance to see exactly what a “clean slate” means. A thorough, comprehensive review of funding needs and mechanisms for meeting them would be most welcome. But important elements of the existing school-finance system, such as extra funding to help meet the extra needs of students with economic disadvantages, disabilities, or low English proficiency, must not be discarded or downgraded in the process.