From the Office of State Senator John Carona

For Immediate Release
April 13, 2004
CONTACT: Paul Reyes, (512) 463-0116 or 1-800-662-0334


AUSTIN - The months of news articles and headlines reading, "Expected to call a special session this Spring," will finally read, "Has called a special session." The wait is over; on April 20, legislators will be reporting to Austin. On the menu-a new school finance system that will touch the life of every child in Texas. "I have urged Governor Perry to call this special session to revamp public school finance funding in Texas and am pleased that it is now scheduled to begin," said Senator Carona.

"The school finance system in Texas is in crisis with almost two-thirds of the state's 1,000+ school districts at or near the $1.50 per $100 valuation limit on school property taxes used for maintenance and operations," Carona stated. Many of these districts have joined a lawsuit arguing that the state's school finance system should be declared unconstitutional. This lawsuit is expected to be heard in the Texas Supreme Court this summer. The property-wealthy school districts are now sending over $1 billion each year of locally-collected property taxes to the state for redistribution to support other less-wealthy school districts. And, the state currently provides only 38 percent of funding for public education while local taxpayers contribute the majority of the remaining 62 percent.

"I have always been an outspoken advocate for the State of Texas paying a much greater share of the costs of public schools. And, I believe that the state should fund its share of the costs of education rather than relying on property-wealthy school districts to help fund the system. The upcoming special session presents an historic opportunity for the Texas Legislature to revamp the state's school finance system to provide local property tax relief and abolish the Robin Hood share-the-wealth system while maintaining equity in the system," Carona concluded.

(Senator Carona represents District 16, which includes major portions of central and northeast Dallas County.)