Monday , 25 September 2017

McKinney Debates: What Should be Done About School Financing?

By TSB Staff

On Feb. 4, a state district judge ruled that the way Texas funds its public school system is unconstitutional.

From the Dallas Morning News:

A state judge ruled Monday that Texas’ school finance system is not delivering enough money for schools to do their job and is distributing funds in an unfair and unconstitutional manner, a long-anticipated ruling that could kick off a sweeping makeover of how the state pays for public education.

State District Judge John Dietz, who heard 12 weeks of testimony before issuing his decision, gave the hundreds of school districts that sued the state most of what they hoped for. He sided with them on three major issues: the level of funding, the equity of funding and restrictions on school districts’ taxing authority.

But no change is imminent, and the districts will be successful only if the Texas Supreme Court upholds the ruling. The state is expected to appeal to the high court, which could hear the case later this year.

Dietz, in an opinion read from the bench just after the trial ended, said the Legislature must overhaul the funding system. But he also challenged the people of Texas to consider what kind of schools they want and what taxes they’re willing to pay.

“There is no free lunch. We either want increased standards and are willing to pay the price, or we don’t,” he said. “However, there is a cost to acting, namely a tax increase. And there is a cost to not acting, namely the loss of our competitive position as a state.”

So McKinney, what should Texas do about its education system? Click here to read more on the issue in The Texas Tribune.

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