House Appropriations Committee Actions

Two important pieces of news came out of the House Appropriations Committee today.  First, when they met this morning to consider HB 1025, regarding supplemental appropriations (spending for the current biennium), Chairman Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) announced that the bill was $598 million below the spending cap and that he intended for $500 million to be […]

March 15 Update

Appropriations/Finance Update Senate Bill 1 Advances out of Senate Finance Committee Senate Bill 1, the General Appropriations Act, received a unanimous recommendation from the 15-member Senate Finance Committee this week and is headed to the full Senate for consideration next week.  The bill adds $1.5 billion more to public education by running $1.375 billion through […]

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.

Senate Finance Recommendations and Model

The Senate Finance Committee adopted their recommendations for Public Education in Article III this morning.  As reported last week, the Finance Committee added $1.5 billion above the amount proposed in the base bill.  Out of that $1.5 billion, $1.375 billion flows through the school finance formulas through the restoration of the Regular Program Adjustment Factor […]

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.

February 1 Weekly Update

Worth watching At Thursday’s TribLive conversation, hosted by the Texas Tribune, Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) and House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) responded to questions regarding school finance, including their response to the trial and their views on the budget cuts from last session.  The 7 minute video clip gives a great […]

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