Funding Public Education
With the primary elections past, discussion of school finance and the prospect of another special legislative session is thriving. The Governor has proposed further limiting the amount that appraised value may be raised each year. Each subsequent proposal from the Governor, though, seems further and further detached from reality. The Texas Municipal League has noted
that limiting increases in appraised value will also impact city taxes, which are currently one-third to half the rate of school taxes. School taxes are the issue, not taxes in general. People are concerned about their total tax burden, but it is school taxes that comprise the greatest portion of local taxes. Proposing further limits on increases of appraised value do nothing to address the core problem and would only place a further limit on local government authority, moving Texas closer to the disaster that Proposition 13 has wrecked on California.
The challenge and disfunction of the current system of school finance can be seen in Wimberley. The school district there is struggling to keep up with a growing population base. However, as a property wealthy district under the current “Robin Hood” system for equalizing school funding, Wimberley is having to send an increasing amount of local funds out of the district. The Robin Hood system was designed to relieve the state from the burden of providing the equitable funding required under the Texas Constitution. It is time now, though, for the state to step up and provide the funding. This will provide tax relief by reliving local school districts from the burden of having to raise funds both for their own districts as well as the funds required to equalized funding across the state.