DFW-area candidates address questions related to public education funding ahead of Nov. 6 election

Candidates running for local office in the Nov. 6 general election addressed several concerns related to public education during a question-and-answer forum moderated by Southlake Mayor Laura Hill on Wednesday evening at the Colleyville Center.

Among the 10 candidates in attendance were incumbent Texas House representatives Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, and Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, for Districts 92 and 98, respectively. State Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, was not present but sent her legislative director, Christopher Paxton, in her stead.

Challenging candidates seeking to represent districts of Grapevine, Collevyille and Southlake include Gwenn Burud, Beverly Powell, Steve Riddell and Mica Ringo. Candidates from other districts were also present, including Nancy Bean, Laura Gunn, Jeromey Sims and Stephanie Klick.

The forum covered several topics, but at the forefront of the conversation was the topic of funding for public education. The question of how candidates would approach the issue was first posed to state Senate candidates.

Paxton, representing Burton, began by saying the Legislature has appropriated for enrollment growth and inflation and increased basic allotment as recently as 2015.

“What is changing is the ratio of state funding to local funding, but this only illustrates that [school districts] are taxing and spending more—not that the Legislature is spending less,” he said.

As a note, the school finance formula considers local revenue sources before allotting state funding, he added.

In contrast Powell, Burton’s opponent, said she advocates for increasing the state’s share to fund school districts to a 50-50 ratio, closing property tax loopholes and tasking education experts to reform the funding formula.

“It is time for us to do a strict line item review of our state budget to assess where we might accomplish adding some extra funding to public schools,” she said.

Running against the absent state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Burud said the funding formula is in desperate need of reformation, and the diversion of state dollars to charter school systems has eroded education funds. She, like Powell, is in favor of closing property tax loopholes to uncover lost revenue.

When the topic came up for state House candidates, Ringo said she plans to make changes in how the state allocates money. Ringo is running against incumbent candidate Capriglione.

“The first bill I propose would be complete and total transparency—that every dollar collected for education is spent on public education and not diverted to other issue,” she said.

Ringo, along with other candidates, also suggested hiring an auditor to review ways to reduce waste and inefficiencies.

Similarly, Capriglione said his focus remains on ensuring local residents see a return on investments in their schools and finding ways to alleviate their tax burdens. Some of his ideas include leveraging the state’s reserves in the rainy day fund and reducing recapture payments to the state.

“I believe that that money should be returned back to the school districts,” Capriglione said, advocating for more local control.

In a separate race, candidates running for Texas House District 92—incumbent Stickland and his opposing candidate Riddell—expressed different ideas for how to approach the issue.

“If you’re looking at a way to kind of shore up the emergencies that we have in public education right now, why not look at the economic stabilization fund—also known as the rainy day fund?” he asked.

The Legislature can use those reserves as members identify better revenue sources and strategies to address needs, Riddell said.

Stickland said he does not support using the rainy day fund, and lawmakers should focus on growing the state economy, which would lead to more revenue for the overall budget.

“If you start spending temporary, one-time funds on ongoing expenses, you set our schools up for failure,” he said.

Voters can support candidates by turning in their ballots Nov. 6. Polling locations, maps and schedules can be found on the Tarrant County website.

Some of the candidates who attended the forum will appear in the following races:

Texas Senate District 9
*Kelly Hancock (R)
Gwenn Burud (D)

Texas Senate District 10
*Konni Burton (R)
Beverly Powell (D)

House District 92
*Jonathan Stickland (R)
Steve Riddell (D)
Eric P. Espinoza (L)

House District 98
*Giovanni Capriglione (R)
Mica Ringo (D)
H. Todd J. Moore (L)

*Indicating incumbents
By Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.


MOST RECENT

Two hundred rail pieces were delivered east of Shiloh Road in Plano in late 2020, according to a Dec. 18 DART release. (Courtesy Dallas Area Rapid Transit)
DART to save millions on Silver Line project following approval of refinanced loan from U.S. Department of Transportation

The $908 million loan was approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Build America Bureau in 2018, according to a Feb. 25 news release.

At its peak of power loss, the city had roughly 50,000 homes with interrupted power, many of which had prolonged outages, Plano City Manager Mark Israelson said. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plano faces long-term impacts from storm; Collin County vaccine hubs resume service and more DFW-area news

Read the top business and community news from this week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Any Lab Test Now will be opening a new clinic in early March in Southlake. (Courtesy Any Lab Test Now)
Any Lab Test Now coming soon to Southlake

Any Lab Test Now will be opening a location in Southlake in March.

Construction notification signs next to Cheek-Sparger Road
Cheek-Sparger Road upgrades scheduled in Colleyville

A portion of Cheek-Sparger Road near Colleyville Boulevard will be open to westbound traffic only.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

The city of Grapevine will be waiving certain fees related to damage caused by Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Grapevine waives fees, provides other assistance for residents affected by winter storm

Grapevine residents will not see February in their average sanitary sewer rates to reflect accurate water usage during the winter storm.

The coffee and wine bar offers signature drinks, such as the Honey Bear Latte, made with honey and cinnamon, as well as food options, such as breakfast tacos, charcuterie boards, baked goods and snack boxes. (Courtesy Golden Boy Coffee Co.)
Golden Boy Coffee Co. opens in Plano; Black Rock Coffee Bar coming to Southlake and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Black Rock Coffee Bar will be opening in Southlake in the spring. (Courtesy of Black Rock Coffee Bar)
Oregon boutique coffee shop Black Rock Coffee Bar plans Southlake location

Black Rock Coffee is set to open two new locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including one in Southlake.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

Next Bistro was opened in 2011 by husband and wife Tom and Ying Aiken. Chef Ying left her career as an accountant to pursue cooking. (Photos courtesy Next Bistro)
Upscale eatery Next Bistro in Colleyville continues to innovate

The owners of Next Bistro in Colleyville have made a major investment in their restaurant every year since opening it in 2011.

Saint Bernard has leased more than 10,000 square feet at the Shops of Southlake and is expected to open this spring. (Courtesy Pexels)
Saint Bernard coming soon to Shops of Southlake

Saint Bernard has leased more than 10,000 square feet at the Shops of Southlake and is expected to open this spring.