NOTE TO THE LEGISLATURE:
DO WHAT'S RIGHT
The State Must Pay its Fair Share of Public Education Costs
by James B. Crow
When local school board members from all across
our state, serving as their districts’ official delegates to
the TASB Delegate Assembly, adopted TASB’s Advocacy
Agenda during the TASA/TASB Convention in Austin
in September, they made an urgent and decisive call to
state legislators: the state must pay its fair share of public
The Association’s Advocacy Agenda, which will guide our
advocacy efforts during the 86th Legislature, included calls
for measures such as fairer school accountability, increased
student safety efforts, opposition to private-school voucher
programs, and more. However, the Assembly’s most imperative message was clear: State lawmakers, do the right thing.
One of the Agenda’s Priorities, as adopted September
29 by the Delegate Assembly, reads:
“TASB calls upon state legislators to share the costs
of funding public schools by providing at least 50 percent
of Foundation School Program formula funding to reduce
overreliance on local property taxes. The state must stop
supplanting the state’s prior-year contribution with increases in local property tax revenue.”
We’re Not Alone
Local public education leaders and supporters of public schools aren’t alone in this sentiment. When veteran
Texas House Representative Drew Darby (R-San Angelo)
visited with approximately 150 school leaders during a
School Board Advocacy Network (SBAN) event at Convention, he specifically mentioned the state’s dwindling support for public education, noting that the school finance
system is in dire need of overhaul.
Darby, who shared his thoughts on the upcoming
legislative session and provided a glimpse of the challenges
and opportunities supporters of public education might encounter, stressed that trustees need to stay involved and urge
lawmakers to do what is right for their students.
At that SBAN meeting, TASB Legislative Committee
Chair Sandy Hughey presented Darby with TASB’s Cham-
pion for Children recognition for his unwavering dedica-
tion to Texas public schools and students.
It’s Time to Take Action
Other lawmakers and decision makers share Darby’s
outlook. But apparently, not all of them are listening. Now
is the time for all of our legislators, all our policymakers, to
stop and realize what is happening to the health and vitality
of one of our most precious resources—our public schools.
Now is the time for all education leaders, teachers,
advocates, supporters, and friends of Texas public schools
to let our legislators know in no uncertain terms that
without the financial support schools so desperately need
from the state, another of our most precious resources—
our children—will suffer.
Here are some startling facts and figures:
• When property values rise and taxes increase, that
money doesn’t benefit the local school district. That
money goes to the state.
• The state has decreased its per-student funding
markedly over the past 10 years.