Texas school funding is one of the major causes of concern at the present. A state commission has already been created, which is tasked to come up with suggestions about how public education funds can be increased systematically.
Currently, Texas is ranked 36th in education spending, with the National Education Association estimating that the state spent $10,456 per student in the 2017-2018 financial year. Undoubtedly, the schools are lowly financed, a factor which has negatively affected the overall education system.
The 2019 legislative period is meant to address the funding issue, a resolution of which promised to increase the school funding. That notwithstanding, the prioritizing of property tax in the same period is a competing preeminence, which will undoubtedly affect the anticipated funding.
Effect of Prioritizing Property Tax Relief
The Texas school funds are obtained from two major sources; the state revenue and property tax. It, therefore, goes without saying that the perceived increment in the funding would be achieved by increasing both the state financing and the property tax revenue. That notwithstanding, the current legislative priority that is seemingly being addressed first is how to reduce the property Taxes in the State. In as much as the Tax relief would be immensely beneficial to the locals, there is the growing concern that the legislators have not addressed a viable substitute source of funds for the required funds. Even more alarming is the fact that, without such alternative sources of funds, the funding for the public schools will even be lower. Therefore, the situation is bound to be worse.
Viable Options to Increase the School Funding
Proponents of the property tax relief continue to table alternative options, whose viability is yet to be ascertained. One such method is the requirement of the state to fund the deficit obtained from lowering the property taxes. In as much as this may look like a viable idea at face level, it is worth noting that it would translate to the increased state budget, and may even cause the state to run on a deficit. Further, the proponents argue that the state revenue obtained from sales tax and oil and gas production is bound to increase in the coming years, and therefore expect the additional income to be used to supplement the school funding. While the notion might be true, opponents argue that oil and natural gas are commodities that greatly fluctuate, thus cannot be relied upon to form a stable base of funding. For instance, the oil and natural gas production dipped by 40 percent between 2006 and 2016, and therefore cannot be relied upon.
It is evident that the Texas school funding required immense adjustments, judging from its low national rank and funding per student. However, the reforms are threatened by the prioritization of the property tax relief, which would translate to the further decline of the public school funding. Property taxes and state funds are the two major sources of funds in public schools, the decline of which would make the schools more disadvantaged and in a worse crisis. While proponents of property tax relief have attempted to come up with ideas of offsetting the discrepancies, opponents continue to poke holes into the ideas, questioning their viability.