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


MOST RECENT

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has launched a campaign to address declining college enrollment numbers across the state since the pandemic started. (Courtesy Pexels)
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launches campaign to boost college enrollment

The decline in college enrollment across the state of Texas has prompted several agencies to partner up and create online resources for students and counselors.

As of Nov. 30, patients confirmed to have COVID-19 filled 16.1% of hospital beds in Trauma Service Area E, which includes Collin, Denton, Tarrant and Dallas counties among others. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
North Texas hovers above key COVID-19 hospitalization threshold as further restrictions loom

North Texas businesses could face additional restrictions—including the closure of some bars—if area hospitals do not see a reversal in the number of COVID-19 patients within a matter of days.

With online shopping expected to increase this year, officials warn that scams are also expected to be more prevalent. (Courtesy of Pexels)
FBI shares safety tips against online scams

Ahead of a busy online shopping season, the FBI reminds customers of potential frauds and scams.

Artio Birth Care opened in October at 614 S. Edmonds Lane, Ste. 205, Lewisville. The education center offers classes and groups for people preparing for childbirth. (Courtesy Artio Birth Care)
Artio Birth Care opens in Lewisville, plus 7 more DFW business updates

Here are eight recent business updates from across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Grapevine's Main Street Santa event was moved to the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau building this year to allow more space for social distancing. (Courtesy Main Street Santa)
No-contact photos with Santa and more holiday events in Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake

Families will be able to participate in events that employ a variety of COVID-19 safety precautions.

D'Ambrosio's #1 Pizza Pub will offer customers a friendly environment to enjoy a more contemporary style of Chicago deep-dish pizza. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
D'Ambrosio's pizzeria opens in Grapevine and more DFW news

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

Between Nov. 15-21, Tarrant County reported 8,791 new confirmed cases and 1,047 probable cases of COVID-19. (Community Impact staff)
Tarrant County officials urge caution ahead of holidays as COVID-19 cases surge

Between Nov. 15-21, Tarrant County reported 8,791 new confirmed cases and 1,047 probable cases of COVID-19.

The M Affect beauty salon has relocated to Grapevine and offers eyelash services as well as microblading and micropigmentation. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The M Affect beauty salon relocates to Grapevine

The beauty salon offers eyelash extensions, microblading, micropigmentation and other beauty services.

On Nov. 7, the state of Texas marked 20 years of daily deaths on state roadways. (Courtesy Fotolia)
TxDOT urges safe driving on Texas roads

On Nov. 7, the state of Texas marked 20 years of daily deaths on state roadways.

Trusted ER Colleyville and Pediatric ER is now open and offers various services to clients in its 24/7 center. (Courtesy Trusted ER Colleyville and Pediatric ER)
Trusted ER opens medical center in Colleyville

Trusted ER Colleyville and Pediatric ER offers emergency and urgent care as well as radiology, among other services.

Eggsquisite Cafe also has locations in McKinney, Allen, Frisco and Rockwall. (Courtesy of Eggsquisite Cafe)
Eggsquisite Cafe opens in Southlake

Eggsquisite Cafe opened a new location in Southlake.

D'Ambrosio's #1 Pizza Pub will offer customers a friendly environment to enjoy a more contemporary style of Chicago deep-dish pizza. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
D’Ambrosio’s #1 Pizza Pub now open in Grapevine

The restaurant offers Chicago-style deep-dish pizza among other cuisines.