School funding addressed at Tribune forum but key metric was left out

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reservedEven Smith of the Texas Tribune moderated a panel in Lubbock Friday featuring state Representative Dustin Burrows, Representative John Frullo, and Senator Charles Perry.

In the audience Q&A, a lifelong Democrat operative posed an accusatory question about public school finance along the line that local property taxes are higher because the state isn’t funding as big a percentage of public school budgets. He pointed out that, roughly, three decades ago the state was picking up 60 percent of school funding and now it’s about 38 percent.

Senator Perry pointed out the following:


On top of the fact that the funding system is setup to achieve an equilibrium of school funding no matter the source of state or locally taxed dollars (the teeter-totter), no one bothered to point out that many schools spend far more and offer far more programs, classes, and the like than they did thirty and forty years ago.

Local spending has increased through local choice, or control, and that shouldn’t force state taxpayers to pick up the tab for all the new-and-neat things local school boards choose.

What this means in regard to state spending is that 38 percent of something that is much bigger could still be more money than 60 percent was decades ago. It could even porpotionally larger when compared to enrollment or per-pupil spending.

Representative Burrows also had cogent things to say on the subject pointing out that the argument really is one for more money but those pushing it do not often provide a source for funds except that some will suggest new taxes such as an income tax.

Burrows, Frullo and Perry rightly oppose such.

What do you think?...

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