Honesty on “Robin Hood” and school finance is better policy

Pratt on TexasOn 14 January, I wrote of Texas public school finance reform: “What must transpire, more importantly than any net increase in funding, is a vast simplification of the formulas used to dole out funds from state government to local school districts.”

“Speaker Bonnen talks of ending the “broken Robin Hood” system but no matter what you call it, if funds are raised through local taxes there will still have to be a system that takes funds from wealthier taxing districts and hands it to the poorer.”

And I was right, it is an I-told-you-so on school finance.

The Texas Tribune reports that when pressed on “if he [Speaker Bonnen] planned to kill Robin Hood, Bonnen responded with a resounding no. “That would be an ignorant thing to say because we don’t have the dollars to declare it dead,” he said. “If it were dead, we’d all be back in court losing on equity.”

Exactly my point so what of Odessa’s press release loving Rep. Brooks Landgraf who put out a release titled “Landgraf takes aim at Robin Hood?” The first line said he “filed legislation to repeal the “Robin Hood” public school finance scheme.”

That same Tribune story of last week carried this: “State Rep. Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, is one of the lawmakers who filed a bill that would eliminate Robin Hood, which is known formally as “recapture.” But he said the legislation is designed to spark a conversation about how Texas funds its schools — and that he’s not sincerely leading a campaign to nix the program. “We all understand that we have to have equity in our school funding,” he said.”

So Rep. Landgraf was just playing people’s emotions; engaging in demagoguery. We’d all be better served without such, leaving that to Democrats, and by dealing with these issues straight on.

What do you think?...

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