There will be no “fix once and for all” for Texas public school finance

Pratt on TexasIt’s time to once again claim my listener-given title of Texas’ Political Swami with a big I-told-you-so on school finance. Julie Change’s story in the Austin American-Statesman about the House’s school finance bill contained these lines:

“Several superintendents from primarily urban and suburban school districts applauded the bill for dropping their recapture payments, which they must pay to the state to help support property-poor districts…”

“Not all school districts, however, would benefit. Some superintendents said they would actually lose money under the bill because of the tax cuts and formula changes.”

It was the choice of the politicians to claim they planned to “fix school finance once and for all” but nothing they do will fix it from all perspectives.

It was the choice of the politicians to claim they planned to “fix school finance once and for all”…

All they can do is make it somewhat better which is why I’m surprised at how this session, compared to last, I’m hearing very little about how the new proposal in HB 3 actually simplifies the convoluted system. Last legislative session the constant refrain was the need for a much simpler and transparent school finance system.

I’ve told you that no matter the cheerleading, no school finance fix will last for long for even with the “more money” always demanded, there always follows a dispute about some districts getting more of that “more money” than others.

There is no one-size-fits-all “fix” possible so we should focus more on simplicity and transparency of the system.

UPDATE: While House Bill 3 would prevent recapture from increasing, it would not “reduce recapture 38 percent” from current levels.

What do you think?...

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