You hear about it on a candidate’s campaign trail and reverberating off the halls of the State Capitol. The media references the term as politicians throw the phrase around in speeches. “School finance” is one of the hottest buzzwords when discussing the topic of public education.
It’s no secret that Texas public schools could use more funding, and educators and students are both getting short changed. But what does that mean when we talk about our school finance system?
Under the current system, local property taxpayers carry most of the financial burden. According to recent poll by the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, 71 percent of Texans are in favor of increasing the state’s share of education funding to provide property tax relief. And a 2018 UT/Texas Tribune poll has shown that both Republicans and Democrats agree that public schools should be funded through state taxes, not local property taxes.
But this remains one of the most deeply contested elements of our state’s school funding formula.
As such, school finance will undoubtedly be on the agenda when the 86th Texas Legislature convenes, so ATPE has compiled a basic overview of school funding statistics. Knowledge is power, and the more the public understands this complicated topic, the more change we can make at the Capitol.