Texas Supreme Court says current school finance system meets constitutional standards

CCISD Plaintiffs Press Release in Response to Texas Supreme Court Ruling A dark day for Texas school children— TEXAS SUPREME COURT SAYS CURRENT SCHOOL FINANCE SYSTEM MEETS CONSTITUTIONAL STANDARDS AUSTIN – The Texas Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of the state’s school finance system, overruling a challenge brought by over 600 Texas school districts, […]

Texas Senate OK’s teacher pension changes to shore up fund

The financial burden of improving the financial footing of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas will be shared by the state, school districts and members under a Senate deal struck Wednesday.

Everyone will chip in a little more to shore up the $117 billion pension fund for school and university employees to quiet political rumblings that the state’s pensions are not sustainable.

House panel approves $1.5 billion more for schools

House budget-writers scraped together an additional $1.5 billion for public education Thursday, but that wasn’t enough to mollify Democrats who say more needs to be found to help Texas schools.

“If this is the start and the finish line, then I think we are doing the schoolchildren a disservice,” state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said as the House Appropriations Committee wrapped up work on its 2014-15 budget bill.

Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, bristled at Turner’s suggestion that budget-writers were not doing enough to restore the $4 billion cut from school aid two years ago.

Texas ranks 49th in per student spending

Texas ranks 49th in the nation in spending per student, according to research compiled by the National Education Association.

The professional organization put the state third to last in the ranking with the other states and Washington, D.C.

Arizona and Nevada spent less per child on education, according to the research, which was presented in a Texas State Teachers Association news release.

Texas spent about $8,400 per student this school year, more than $3,000 less than the national average, according to the data.

Texas School Finance System Ruled Unconstitutional

AUSTIN, Texas – State District Judge John Dietz ruled today that the Texas school finance system is unconstitutional by ruling in favor of the Calhoun County ISD plaintiffs on both of their claims. The Calhoun County ISD plaintiffs consist of a group of 89 school districts (many of them Texas School Coalition members) represented by Mark Trachtenberg and John Turner, attorneys with Haynes and Boone, LLP.

Judge Dietz held that the school finance system has evolved into an unconstitutional state property tax and that the system fails to provide the plaintiff districts access to funding sufficient to provide a constitutionally adequate education.

Hamilton: Tax credits a smokescreen for school vouchers

By Billy Hamilton

Suppose that companies that owe taxes to the state could donate money to a private group that would pick children to receive private school scholarships, and in return, the companies would get a tax break. Would that be good policy?

The Texas Legislature soon will debate this question. But, if you aren’t one of the corporations or the tiny percentage of families getting a tax break or scholarship and, like most Texas families with children, you rely on public schools, you already know the answer: No, it’s not.

Gas from shale is making Texas schools rich

SAN ANTONIO – Eight rural South Texas school districts helped by tax revenues from the Eagle Ford shale energy boom have been designated under state standards as “wealthy,” meaning they may have to surrender some of that money to poorer districts.

School officials said the change in designation was unfortunate since the districts were just beginning to see their finances improve.

“I’ve lived here for 40 years, and we’ve been poor for 38 of those years,” said Deborah Dobie, superintendent of the Carrizo Springs Independent School District.

Dave McNeely: Will Texas lawmakers invest or cut taxes?

As the Texas Legislature kicked off its 140-day regular biennial session, the state’s top three leaders were touting the same message: Texas ain’t Washington.

Republican Joe Straus, just re-elected to a third term as House speaker, bragged that, “In the Texas House, we don’t put the Republicans on one side of the room and the Democrats on the other.”

Unlike Washington, “we work with our colleagues, regardless of party,” said Straus, who became speaker in 2009 with near-unanimous Democratic help to oust Republican predecessor Tom Craddick.

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