Education Policy

Fair Funding for the Common Good – Resources

Reference Information on Fair Funding for the Common Good

Testimony: Equity and Meaningful Educational Opportunity for All
Invited Testimony of IDRA – Presented by David Hinojosa, J.D., National Director of Policy, before the Texas School Finance Commission, March 2018

Court Rules: Texas School Funding Must Serve All Students Equitably
The ruling on February 4, 2013, by the Texas District Court, Judge John Dietz presiding, that the Texas school finance system as currently constructed violates the Texas Constitution affirms what communities and educators have known for years. Our state clearly is not providing the resources necessary to educate all children to the high levels that are needed in the 21st century. Consonant with the ruling of the district court, IDRA calls for the following: The time for increased and equitable funding is now – What is needed are critical resources, not more time; Special population funding increases are required; Target revenue and hold-harmless funding should be ended with no more phasing out; Public funding must be reserved for public schools; and Facilities funding priority should be given to public schools. See the statement by Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA President and CEO and related resources.

Latest School Funding Court Case in Texas

The largest school finance case in the state’s history, Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition vs. Williams, consisted of 443 public school districts and representing more than 1.5 million school children.See a general timeline and links to IDRA statements with related resources.

Fair Funding Now! for Texas Education
In 2011, the Texas legislature cut education funding for the first time in four decades. Instead of ending funding disparities, they walked away – pushing millions of Texas children aside. But communities across the state are taking action to make sure that schools are equipped to guarantee that all children graduate ready for college and career. Get tools, handouts, news and more resources at IDRA’s Courageous Connections – Fair Funding Now! website.

Texas School Finance – What to do about “Recapture”

Recapture is an essential element in funding education in Texas. But, a combination of the state’s failure to invest state tax dollars in education, static equalized wealth levels, and rising property taxes has placed a growing burden on local property taxpayers. The state’s core problem lies in its failure to fund education based on actual costs rather than on a “funds-left-over” basis. There are many ways the state can address recapture, some that improve equity for school districts across Texas and others that diminish equity.

Slide: Fair Funding – Why is it So “Hard” in Texas?
The gap between the poorest 10% of school districts and the wealthiest 10% of districts in weighted property wealth per student is over $1 million.

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Slide: Essential Elements of Fair Funding
In order to have equitable and adequate opportunities for all Texas children, we need a system of school funding that provides adequate resources, more efficient and equitable funding, and local meaningful discretion.

The State of Texas Open-Enrollment Charter Schools
IDRA provided written testimony of its research and analysis on charter schools in Texas. The state Senate Committee on Education met December 7 to take up interim charges regarding charters. IDRA’s testimony, “The State of Texas Open-Enrollment Charter Schools and a Modest Proposal to Diversify and Improve Public Charter Schools,” focuses on issues impacting the Texas Senate’s study of the approval, expansion, and revocation of public charter schools in Texas, including the performance of charter schools in Texas and efficiency concerns related to the expanded funding of charter schools. We conclude with a proposal for the Senate to consider an approach to new charters that would aim to ensure high quality, equal educational opportunities in a diverse learning environment.

White Paper: The Cost of Inequity in Education
This literature review looks at the policy-related research regarding education and the cost of inequity. Research has established that the benefits of providing additional schooling for a greater percentage of students far outweigh the additional expenses that are associated with keeping more students enrolled all the way to graduation from high school and college. This white paper provides a brief background and then looks at the following topics: non-separate, but still unequal; expanding expectations for all schools and all students; access to higher education; economic payoff of high school and college diplomas; the additional costs associated with graduating more students from high school and college; recognition of the non-education based cost of education inequity; and other cost savings correlated with increased levels of educational attainment. It closes with a summary, conclusions and related policy implications.

IDRA Presents Expert Testimony in School Finance Trial
More than half of the school districts in Texas – representing three-fourths of the students – have sued the state for its failure to provide sufficient and equitable funding to ensure all students graduate prepared for college and career. IDRA’s director of policy, Dr. Albert Cortez is presenting expert testimony today. One of IDRA’s findings is that Texas’ richest districts have over $35,000 more to spend per classroom on teachers, books, etc., than our poorest districts. IDRA has created a dashboard to collect news about the Texas school finance trial for easy access for parents, school folk & communities. You can see the latest news stories, live tweets, images, etc.

See the slides from Dr. Albert Cortez’s testimony on December 3, 2012, in the school finance trial.

See the IDRA’s initial report, “the Extent of Equity in the Texas School Finance System and Its Impact on Selected Student Related Issues.”

Fair Funding Now! for Texas Education
In 2011, the Texas legislature cut education funding for the first time in four decades. Instead of ending funding disparities, they walked away – pushing millions of Texas children aside. But communities across the state are taking action to make sure that schools are equipped to guarantee that all children graduate ready for college and career. Get tools, handouts, news and more resources at IDRA’s Courageous Connections – Fair Funding Now! website.

Neeley vs. West Orange-Cove Learn more about the Texas Supreme Court ruling and how it affects your schools.

FAQs Frequently asked questions about school funding

Glossary – Quick definitions to help you know the issue

Podcast Interview on the Implications of Inequitable School Funding
In this IDRA Classnotes Podcast episode, Encarnación Garza, Jr., assistant professor at UTSA, shares his perspective of inequitable school funding as an issue of social justice through the eyes of a former school principal and superintendent.

Equity Center Radio Highlights Funding Needs for Education of ELLs
Listen to this two-part interview with Dr. Albert Cortez, IDRA director of policy, on Equity Center Radio. Dr. Cortez is interviewed by Ray Freeman, deputy executive director for the Equity Center, about funding for the education of English language learners. Part 1 Part 2

See Univision San Antonio story: Demandan a Texas por desigualdad educative (with Dr. Albert Cortez)

More Resources from Across the Country
Around the country cuts to core educational programs have already been made since 2008. Even deeper cuts are on the way unless we can make clear that education is a staple, not a frill. This issue of IDRA’s Grad4All considers what cuts like these mean for students, families and schools; highlights how people are speaking out and urges everyone to promote education as a priority. (Also available in Spanish.)

Perspectives on Funding Changes Adopted in 2009
See our online flip-book, School Finance Reform in Texas – IDRA Perspectives on Funding Changes Adopted by the 2009 Texas Legislature.

The Status of School Finance Equity in Texas – A 2009 Update
Texas was headed in the right direction until the last two legislative sessions when revisions made to the school funding plan eroded equity among Texas schools. This update summarizes where things are and identifies changes that are needed. Free online. Available for purchase. See related news release.

Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective
A master story-teller, Dr. José A. Cárdenas offers an insider’s view of the 28-year history of school finance in Texas. Dr. Cárdenas was the only person who was actively involved in the entire school finance reform effort in the early days of the Rodríguez vs. San Antonio ISD litigation when he was superintendent of the Edgewood ISD. More than a history, this book provides a blueprint for persons interested in bringing about future reform in schools and other social institutions. (Out of print, but available online)

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