Principles for Fair Funding for the Common Good

To help focus on the reforms that may be included in upcoming school reform plans, IDRA uses a set of principles to help assess any proposed school funding reform plan. We welcome their adoption and dissemination by all who agree that all children are valuable, and none is expendable.

Principle 1: Funding Equity – Texas must maintain or increase the level of equity found in the existing funding system.

Principle 2: Equal Return for Equal Tax Effort – Texas must specifically provide for equal return for equal tax rates, for all school districts, at all levels of the state permitted tax effort.

Principle 3: Excellent Education – Texas must provide equitable access to excellent education (defined as equitable access to high quality curricula, teaching, support services, and facilities) for all students in all school districts, precluding the need for and thereby prohibiting any local un-equalized enrichment.

Principle 4: Access to Equalized Enrichment – Texas must ensure that, if local supplementation of a state-funded adequate system is allowed, the entire additional local tax effort provides equal yield for equal tax effort, regardless of the local property wealth of individual districts.

Principle 5: Recognizing Special Student Costs – Texas must equitably provide add-on funding based on actual costs of providing appropriate supplemental services to students identified as limited English proficient, low-income, or requiring special education services.

Principle 6: Access to Equalized Facilities Funding – Texas must provide equitable access to funding for school facilities so that all districts have equal access to facilities revenue for equal tax effort. Facilities funding should provide support for updating and maintaining existing facilities, as well as funding for new facilities. Special facilities-related needs for fast growth districts should be recognized in any proposed funding formulae.

Principle 7: Maintaining Levels of State Support – Texas must ensure that the state will fund a minimum of 60 percent of the overall cost of education in the state.

Principle 8: Tax Burden – Texas must base any potential requirement for additional state revenue on adoption of progressive measures of taxation that are based on local school district and/or individuals’ ability to pay taxes, and must not result in a shift of tax burdens from high wealth to all other districts or from more affluent to lower income taxpayers.