State’s school funding formulas unsustainable, outdated, commission finds

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A state-commissioned task force found Texas’ school funding formula to be outdated, unsustainable and over-reliant on property taxes—echoing some of the grievances property-wealthy school districts like Plano ISD have voiced for years.

PISD officials have specifically signaled their ongoing concern with recapture, which is the state’s practice of reallocating tax dollars from property-wealthy school districts to be sent to property-poor districts. For fiscal year 2018-19, PISD sent $208 million to the state to help other districts.

PISD board of trustees President Missy Bender said at a Dec. 18 meeting hosted by the Plano Chamber of Commerce that the district is still reviewing the draft of the commission’s final report released Dec. 11.

PISD is “evaluating the implications of those draft recommendations at this moment,” Bender said. “So our team is reviewing the work and beginning to analyze that. We will continue that process throughout the session.”

Todd Williams, chair of the school finance commission’s outcomes subcommittee and CEO of the Dallas-based Commit Partnership, said the commission is prepared to vote Dec. 19 on the final draft of its report.

As part of the final draft, Williams said the commission plans to present three different proposals to address recapture. One from the office of Gov. Greg Abbott would slow the increases in property tax bills by compressing tax rates as property values rise. His proposal would also cap annual property tax revenue increases and reduce recapture’s projected growth, according to a document as part of Abbott’s presentation.

Williams said the commission also supports expanding early childhood services throughout the state.

“The data was overwhelming from the commission that we need to provide resources for districts to offer full Pre-K for their kids if they so choose,” Williams said.

 

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Gavin Pugh
After reporting for Community Impact Newspaper's Plano paper for over two years, Gavin launched the Coppell, Valley Ranch and Las Colinas edition in October 2019. As editor, Gavin's beat includes transportation, municipal government, education and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
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