Texas School Coalition Executive Director Christy Rome provided testimony to the Texas Senate Committee on Finance on February 6, 2023.

On behalf of the Texas School Coalition on Senate Bill 1, thank you for your commitment to public education and property tax relief expressed in the introduced version of the budget. 

While Texas has much to celebrate, one thing that is not to be celebrated is that recapture will reach nearly $5 billion in the current school year, a staggering increase over earlier estimates of $3 billion, which would also be a record amount.  And recapture is expected to exceed $5 billion in the budget cycle under consideration.

Property tax relief is important—recapture would be even worse without it.  But while it appears the state is spending more on education than ever before, billions of those dollars are replacing local revenue — not increasing the amount of dollars going into the classroom. That’s an important perspective to maintain as schools try to pay competitive wages and maintain their workforce — and as both schools and their teachers and staff face higher prices for food, housing, materials, insurance, and other costs.

In order to keep pace with the 14.5% rate of inflation named by the Comptroller since the Basic Allotments was last increased, that would call for an increase of $900, which carries a price tag of $13 billion.  That’s what it would take to make the dollars invested in our schools worth the same buying power they had four years ago. 

Increasing the Basic Allotment puts more dollars into every school, while also reducing recapture.

In conclusion, we encourage you to make investments and policy decisions that are durable and sustainable.  Please remember the needs of our students and our teachers, and please remember the significant cost increases that schools have faced since the last time you increased the Basic Allotment.

Thank you very much.  

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