Publications

“The Extent of Equity in the Texas School Finance System and Its Impact on Selected Student Related Issues,” IDRA’s initial expert report for the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition vs. Michael Williams, et al., school funding trial

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

The Status of School Finance Equity in Texas – A 2009 Update, by Dr. Albert Cortez (IDRA, 2009; $7 or free online)

School Finance Reform in Texas – IDRA Perspectives on Funding Changes Adopted by the 2009 Texas Legislature

Policy digest on fair funding, 2003, also available in PDF format

Information on the book, Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective, by José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D. (ISBN 1-878550-63-2; 1997; 387 pages; hardback; $30) 

Statements

Court Rules: Texas School Funding Must Serve All Students Equitably  – Statement, February 5, 2013
The ruling yesterday 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.

IDRA Principles for Fair Funding

Fair Funding is Essential to Having Excellent Schools for All Texas Students – Statement, December 14, 2011

Opportunity Matters: The Call to Increase Excellence and Equity, Testimony, June 8, 2011

Equal Access to a Quality Education – The Civil Rights Issue of Our Generation, speech, March 29, 2011

Texas School Funding Must Serve All Students Equitably – IDRA Perspectives on 2011 Texas School Funding Equity and Related Budget Issues – May 25, 2011

Don’t Repeat Past Wrongs in Texas Education – Insufficient Attention and Lack of Investment in Education Helped Put Texas Where it is – Statement, February 2011

Supreme Court Ruling in Horne vs. Flores is a Missed Opportunity

Texas Supreme Court Misses the Point – Texas Must Provide Equity and Excellence for All Students – Statement, February 1, 2006

School Reform Isn’t Acceptable if It Isn’t Equitable – Statement, July 22, 2005

Equity and Excellence for All Texas Students – Statement, June 21, 2005

District Court Demands Increased State Investment: All Our Children Deserve an Excellent, Equitable Education – Statement, September 27, 2004

Schools Would Lose Big with Elimination of Recapture – News release, February 27, 2003

Eliminating the Texas School Finance System is Bad for Children and is Bad Public Policy – IDRA factsheet, February 11, 2003 also available in Spanish

Supreme Court Ruling Bad for Neighborhood Public Schools – Statement, July 2002

School Finance Equity and Property Tax Changes – IDRA Information update, April 1997

Declaration: Children First – IDRA statement, March 1, 1997

News

A Post Session Assessment of Texas Education Policy Changes Considered, Adopted and Rejected in 2013
Following the close of the 2013
Texas legislative session in May, IDRA assessed policies adopted, rejected or never given the chance to see the light of day. In contrast to the previous session in 2011 when lawmakers labored to craft a budget and attempt to address major education issues while facing an expected multi-billion dollar shortfall, the 2013 session was more of a struggle to convince policymakers to increase investments in the critical areas of education, healthcare, and water and state infrastructure. Albert Cortez , Ph.D., gives an overview of legislative actions regarding key education issues: fair funding, private school vouchers, high-stakes testing and accountability, student curriculum and tracking, accountability for English learner education, and charter schools expansion.

Highlights of IDRA’s Expert Reports and Testimony Presented in the Texas 2012 School Finance Court Case
On December 3, 2012, Dr. Albert Cortez , IDRA’s Director of Policy, presented testimony in the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition vs. Michael Williams, et al., school funding trial in Austin
. Highlights derived from research conducted by IDRA and reported in testimony are presented in this article. Based on our analyses, IDRA concluded that the
Texas school finance system is inequitable, provides inadequate levels of funding for educating ELL and low-income students, has disparate impacts on low property wealth and major urban school districts, and suffered special program cuts that negatively impacted students in low wealth school districts. See the slides from Dr. Albert Cortez ’s testimony and IDRA’s initial report, “The Extent of Equity in the Texas School Finance System and Its Impact on Selected Student Related Issues.”

IDRA Director of Policy, Dr. Albert Cortez, Testifies in School Finance Case
Dr. Albert Cortez, IDRA director of policy, presented expert testimony this week based on IDRA’s analysis of school funding equity across the state. “We found that the
Texas system of school finance is still inequitable, inadequate, arbitrary and inefficient,” summarized Dr. Cortez. His testimony addressed funding disparities, related tax yield disparities, underfunding for English learners and low-income students, impact on high school attrition, and the effects of the recent special program cuts. “In
Texas , the quality of schooling still seems to be markedly affected by the neighborhood in which you happen to reside.”

See the latest news about the
Texas school finance trial. 

Use of School District Fund Balances – Not the Answer
A few state leaders have argued against using the state’s Rainy Day Fund claiming that school districts have their own fund balances that could be used during this funding crisis. The Equity Center has outlined reasons this logic is flawed, including the fact that school districts are required by law to maintain these funds for cash flow and emergencies. In addition, the school districts with the lowest yields and the highest tax rates are the districts that have the least unrestricted fund balances. “These districts are the ones the state has been severely underfunding for decades, and who, now, are being told they must ‘share the pain’" (EC). See the graphic and brief summary provided by the Equity Center.

Using the Rainy Day Fund to Ensure our Recovery and Prosperity
The Center for Public Policy Priorities has released this pamphlet describing how a cuts-only approach to dealing with a shortfall this large in Texas would undermine our economic recovery and threaten our future prosperity. Instead, we need a balanced approach, one that includes using our Rainy Day Fund to minimize damaging cuts to critical public services such as education. As part of a balanced approach, the Rainy Day Fund can cover about a third of the shortfall. This paper explains how the fund works and why it should be used.

Average Tax Rates and Revenue per WADA for Various Percentages of Districts
See this graph by the Equity Center presented during testimony by Dr. Wayne Pierce before the Texas Senate Finance Committee. He stated: “We must take this opportunity to begin transforming the Texas public school funding system into one that is equitable and efficient for both children and taxpayers. If we don’t, the problems will only get worse.”

Podcasts

“Fair Funding Now! for Excellent Schooling” Classnotes Podcast Episode 102 with Aurelio Montemayor, M.Ed., and Laurie Posner, MPA

“Implications of Inequitable School Funding” IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 68 with Encarnación Garza, Jr., assistant professor at UTSA

Articles from the IDRA Newsletter

Youth Take on Budget Cuts – “We Want Fully Funded Schools”
By Hector Bojorquez and Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, March 2012)

Fair Funding is Essential to Having Excellent Schools for All Texas Students
By María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, January 2012)

Fair Funding Now! – Building Grassroots Leadership for Funding Equity
By Laurie Posner, M.P.A., IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, January 2012) 

Groups Challenge Texas System for Funding Public Schools… Again
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, January 2012)

Texas: Turning its Back on the Future – An Assessment of Major Education Policy Reforms Considered by the 82nd Texas Legislature
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.,  IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas : Intercultural Development Research Association, August 2011)

Prospects for Texas School Finance Reforms in 2011
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, January 2011)

Fair Funding of Texas Schools is Even More Critical in Tough Economic Times
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, May 2010)

Implications of Inequitable Funding on the Quality of Education at the Campus Level
By Nilka Avilés, Ed.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, May 2010)

Defining Student Success in the Context of College Readiness
by Rosana G. Rodríguez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, November-December 2009)

“Fair Funding of Schools – Why and With What Results”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, May 2009)

“The Status of School Finance Equity in Texas”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, May 2008)

“Equalizing Funding of Texas School Facilities – A Long-Standing, Long-Neglected Need”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2007)

“Myths in School Finance” an excerpt from Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective
By José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2007)

“Perspectives on the Texas Legislature’s Latest School Funding Plan”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, August 2006)

“A Decision Neither Adequate nor Equitable – The Texas Supreme Court Ruling in West Orange-Cove vs. Neeley”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2006)

“MALDEF Decries Latest Decision of Texas Supreme Court – Ruling Abandons Low-wealth Districts and Upholds Glaring Inequities in the School Finance System”
By Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2006)

(see also Texas Supreme Court Misses the Point – Texas Must Provide Equity and Excellence for All Students – Statement, February 1, 2006)

“A Historical Perspective on Texas School Finance” an excerpt from Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective
By José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2006)

“The 79th Texas Legislative Session – The Good, the Bad, and the Inept”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D., and Anna Alicia Romero
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, August 2005)

“Texas Latino Education Coalition – Unveils Six Steps to Real Education Reform”  
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, August 2005)

“Round Six and Holding – The State District Court Ruling in West Orange-Cove vs. Neeley”
By Albert Cortez, Ph. D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2005)

“The Fifty Most Memorable Quotes in School Finance”
by José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, May 1994; updated in 2005)

“District Court Demands More State Investment – All Our Children Deserve an Excellent, Equitable Education”
By María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, November-December 2004)

“Major Education Issues Before the Texas Legislature in 2004”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, November-December 2004)
“Texas Continues to Slip in Education Funding Ranking”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, August 2004)

“Not So Special Session Ends With a Whimper”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, June-July 2004)

“Laredo Community Leaders Declare Support for School Funding Equity”
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, April 2004)

“Equity and Adequacy Concepts as Considered in School Finance Court Cases”
By Albert H. Kauffman
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, March 2004)

“Texas at a Crossroads: Excellent and Equitable Schools – or Merely Adequate”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D., and María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2004)

“Insufficient Funding for Bilingual Education in Texas”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2004)

“Why Fair Funding”
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2004)

“Legislative Session Falls Short in Texas”
By María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, September 2003)

“Public Education Reform Priorities in Texas: IDRA Perspectives”
By María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., and Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, March 2003)

“Holding the Line – School Finance Reform in Texas”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, June-July 2002)

“Destined to Get an Equitable System of School Funding”
Anna Alicia Romero interview of José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, September 2001)

“Facilities Renovation and Construction Opportunities and Challenges”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, October 1997)

“Texas Legislature Considers Much for Education, Accomplishes Little”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D. and Anna Alicia Romero
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, August 1997)

“Property Tax Relief, Tax Equity and Funding Equalization”
By Albert Cortez, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, March 1997)

“Equal Access to Quality School Facilities”
By Roy Johnson, M.A.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, March 1997)

“School Finance Reform and Intra-District Equity: An Excerpt”an excerpt from Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective
By José A. Cárdenas, Ed.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, March 1997)

“School Finance Inequities Mean Schools Are Not Ready to Teach”
By María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.
IDRA Newsletter (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, October 1996)

Share