State law requires certain school districts (known as Chapter 41 districts) to send local property tax dollars to the state through a process called recapture. Because the state has been paying less and less of the cost of education, it increasingly relies on recapture dollars to pay for public education across Texas. Property owners in […]
AUSTIN – The Republican-led Legislature plunged into the opening round of writing a new state budget Monday as leaders in the House and Senate released separate initial spending plans that drew quick attacks from critics for failing to restore more than $5 billion in education cuts imposed by lawmakers two years ago.
House leaders are calling for $187.7 billion in spending over the next two years, while the Senate version proposes $186.8 million.
Reflecting a directive from Gov. Rick Perry, the budgets essentially take a hold-the-line approach to spending and are substantially below robust revenue projections available to lawmakers for the upcoming 2014-15 fiscal biennium, which starts in Sept. 1. The Senate proposes a $3.1 billion, or 1.6 percent, decrease from current spending while the House would cut spending by $2.2 billion or 1.2 percent.
Austin school district Superintendent Meria Carstarphen on Monday swatted down arguments from a state lawyer that the district had ample financial wiggle room to deal with its share of the $5.4 billion budget cuts enacted by the Legislature last year.
During testimony in the ongoing school finance trial, Carstarphen said the district has been doing its best given the changing student demographics, including more students with limited English skills, at a time of increasing state academic standards.