Expect grandiose claims on fixing Texas public school finance

Pratt on TexasToday is the day chairman of the Texas House committee on public education, Rep. Dan Huberty, is set to release his version of a school finance plan with testimony to come next week.

One reason reform is needed is the financial diversity of school districts and the complexity in the system that has come about to adjust for that diversity. This is also why I am skeptical that any plan rolled out by Huberty will stand-up to the lobby pressures and different visions of what needs to be done by other members of the legislature.[1]

Despite much hyperbolic talk from Rep. Landgraf and many others about ending the so-called Robin Hood method, such is not going to happen in-full because to achieve demands on equity in funding across more than a thousand districts, there must be some system of transfer of funds from property tax wealthy districts to those that have poorer tax bases.

But don’t count on anything less than grandiose claims that we’re going to “fix school finance” once for all.

Instead of pretending that some new bill will magically fix all the things about the school finance system disliked by one party or another, legislators would be far wiser to focus mostly on a simplification of the system. Once that is done it will be easier in a few years to better identify places where substantive changes are needed.

The media and lobby interests really just want more money. Legislators should mostly ignore that and focus first on making the current complicated finance system simple and transparent. It is anything but that now. But don’t count on anything less than grandiose claims that we’re going to “fix school finance” once for all.

Read more here.

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