School Tax System Examination Continues
The Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance has finished its first round of hearings in Austin today, October 26, 2001. Over the past two days, the committee has begun its examination of the way Texas funds public schools, with special emphasis on the lawsuits that surround the current system.
Steve Smith, manager of the National Conference of State Legislatures(NCSL), National Center on Education Finance gave a presentation regarding how other states finance their schools. He said that nationwide sales taxes and income taxes provide most of the funding. He also discussed the ways other states try to equalize funding.
Next, the committee heard from David Anderson and Joe Wisnoski of the Texas Education Agency. They gave an overview of the current system and how its $24 billion statewide budget is allocated. The current system is set up to enable all students to have equal benefit from state funds, but property-rich districts have gone to court, saying it unfairly drains money from their local taxpayers.
Committee Co-chairs are Senator Teel Bivins and Representative Paul Sadler. Members include Senators Steve Ogden, Florence Shapiro, Eliot Shapleigh, Leticia Van De Putte and Royce West. Also on the committee are Representatives Harold Dutton, Kent Grusendorf, Scott Hochberg, Rene Oliveria and Todd Smith. Public members include Kent Caperton, Will Davis, Craig Foster, Lyndon Olson, Mark Stiles and David Thompson. The committee recessed subject to call of the chair.
You can access the archived video webcast from the Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance Committee's web page.