Texas Education Reform : History and Finance 1) 1950’s: Brown case – gradually a commitment to educate all children and

to keep them in school. Costs began to rise. 2) White starts reform effort – raises SAT scores a. SAT scores increased by twelve points, Texas first graders improved in statewide tests and teacher salaries increased by $5,000. 3) Members of the 68th Legislature passed a historic education-reform bill in the summer of 1984. House Bill 72 came in response to growing concern over deteriorating literacy among Texas' schoolchildren over two decades, reflected in students' scores on standardized tests. a. Provisions of HB 72 raised teachers' salaries, but tied those raises to teacher performance. It also introduced more stringent teacher certification and initiated competency testing for teachers. b. national norm-referenced testing throughout all grades to assure parents of individual schools' performance through a common frame of reference. http://www.texasalmanac.com/education/ 4) 74th Legislature passed the Public Schools Reform Act of 1995 a. Texas Education Agency is to administer an accountability system; creating and implementing the student testing program; b. The TEKS were developed by a writing team composed of 35 social studies teachers and supervisors, campus administrators, college and university professors, members of business and industry, and parents. The 29 educators appointed to the writing team in February 1995 had a combined total of 427 years of social studies teaching experience in Grades K-12 at the time of their appointment. 5) Texas students, beginning with the Class of 1987, have been required to pass an exit-level exam, along with their courses, in order to receive a diploma from a Texas public high school. 6) Beginning with the Class of 2005, Texas students must pass the exit-level Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) to meet this graduation requirement. TAKS, which is the most rigorous graduation test ever given to Texas students, covers English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. 7) To give Texas residents a sense of how schools are performing, the state has issued ratings for its public school districts and campuses since 1993. The new system is based on state test scores and high school completion rate. Finances of Texas Schools 1) In 1949, the Texas Legislature adopted the Gilmer-Aikin Act, which prescribed the reorganization of state education administration. The Gilmer-Aikin Act also established the "Minimum Foundation Program," which created a funding system that provided revenue for education from both state and local sources.

2) Presently education in the state of Texas funded in the following way. The state decides on a figure necessary for an adequate education. It then pays 50% of that amount to the districts from state revenues. The local districts then make up the other 50% from local tax revenues. Problem: inequities : some districts had extensive commercial enterprise properties to tax, others did not! 3) Robin Hood [ put in place in 1993] was recapturing $1.2 billion per year from 134 school districts by 2004. The Texas Legislature budgets those recaptured dollars and uses them to fund the Foundation Program of finance. a. January 1995, that the law was constitutional at the time, but could become unconstitutional unless changes were made in the law over the next several years. Senate Bill 7 mandated that all districts having a wealth per weighted student (WADA) exceeding $280,000 must give up that excess wealth in one of several manners: b. 1. consolidation with a property-poor district such that the combined wealth is less than $280,000 per WADA; c. 2. tax base consolidation with a property-poor district such that the combined wealth is less than $280,000 per WADA; d. 3. purchase of attendance credits from the State to reduce the wealth to less than $280,000 per WADA; e. 4. purchase of attendance credits from a property-poor district to reduce the wealth to less than $280,000 per WADA; or f. 5. disannexation of property from a property-wealthy district to reduce the wealth to less than $280,000 and attachment of that property to a property-poor district. 4) During the 1990’s dissatisfaction with recapture mounted. At the same time, modest state funding increases were not keeping pace with the cost of education in Texas. a. State also pushing over 100 unfunded mandates unto the schools as well. b. To meet revenue needs of districts, school boards raised property tax rates. In fact, by 2003, nearly 690 school districts were at or near the statutory maximum tax rate of $1.50. This, in turn, sparked litigation to overturn the system because of high taxes and inadequate funding.. 5) Effect of Special Session on finance: a. Monies from the state 8.5 billion surplus used to buy down property taxes to 1.00 per 1,000 b. School districts were allowed to rise property taxes up to 1.04 per 1,000 if they thought necessary. c. Really is necessary for poorer districts because Foundation Grant money is always short – not adjusted for inflation or student population growth. d. Gave teachers a one time 2,000 rise. Still 38th overall in salary, 50th if compared to salary given to professionals e. Created teacher incentive pay scheme

f.

Under the new law, the commissioner can replace the entire staff at any campus that is rated academically unacceptable for two years in a row. A campus intervention team appointed by the commissioner would determine which employees would be removed, with the principal automatically removed. The team would run the campus until it was rated acceptable.

g. The change begins with the recently completed 2005-06 school year. Although this year's ratings won't be out until next month, a total of 364 campuses – including 51 charter schools – were graded academically unacceptable a year ago. If similar numbers are poorly rated this year, thousands of teachers and principals could be replaced in summer 2007. h. And if a campus continues to receive poor ratings for two years after state intervention, the commissioner must turn over management of the school to a nonprofit education entity or order closure of the school. The commissioner can take similar actions against a school district for multiple years of poor academic or financial ratings under the state's accountability system. i. The changes signal a shift in power not only to the education commissioner, but also to the governor, who appoints the commissioner, said Richard Kouri of the Texas State Teachers Association. Dr. Neeley was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry.

Education (50th = lowest, 1st = highest)
< Percentage of Population Graduated from High School13 46th < High School Completion Rate14 45th < State Aid per Pupil15 41st < Secondary Teachers with Degrees in the Subjects they Teach16 45th < Average Teacher Salaries17 30th < Percent of Adults with at Least a Bachelor’s Degree18 27th < Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Scores19 47th

6) Problem: inequities in school finance: $14,000,000 Before Equalization in Texas… Amount of property $216,990 wealth per pupil in Average expenditures per

the richest school district $20,000 Amount of property wealth per pupil in the poorest school district Ratio of this difference Average tax rate in the 100 wealthiest school districts Average tax rate in the 100 poorest school districts $89,340

classroom in the 100 wealthiest school districts Average expenditures per classroom in the 100 poorest school districts Average expenditures per student in the 100 wealthiest school districts Average expenditures per student in the 100 poorest school districts

700 to 1 47¢

$7,233

47¢

$2,978

Source: Cárdenas, José a. 1985-96 State District Trial Court Records, Texas School Finance Reform: An IDRA Perspective (San Antonio, Texas: Intercultural Development Research Association, 1997

7) In 1990, the Texas Legislature was convened in a special session and passed Senate Bill 1, which provided more money for equalization, but essentially left the system intact. After the Texas Supreme Court struck down SB 1, the Legislature passed House Bill 351 in 1991, creating 188 County Education Districts (CEDs). The CEDs were allowed to levy state-mandated property taxes and redistribute the revenues to member districts. 8) The Texas Supreme Court struck HB 351 down, and the Texas Legislature returned to work. In 1993, it passed Senate Bill 7. the legislation that invoked the property tax recapture provision, also known as Robin Hood. The purpose for recapturing revenue from high-wealth districts and using it to fund lower-wealth districts was to improve equity in the funding system. 9) By 2004, Robin Hood was recapturing $1.2 billion per year from 134 school districts. The Texas Legislature budgets those recaptured dollars and uses them to fund the Foundation Program of finance. As a result, it is very hard to end the Robin Hood provisions because state government would have to find replacement funding to maintain support for schools. 10) During the 1990’s dissatisfaction with recapture mounted. At the same time, modest state funding increases were not keeping pace with the cost of education in Texas. To meet revenue needs of districts, school boards raised property tax

rates. In fact, by 2003, nearly 690 school districts were at or near the statutory maximum tax rate of $1.50. This, in turn, sparked litigation to overturn the system because of high taxes and inadequate funding. 11) In 2001, a group of school districts mounted a lawsuit that became known as West Orange-Cove CISD v. Neeley. When the case went to trial in 2004, over 300 school districts were involved as plaintiffs or plaintiff interveners. Plaintiff school districts argued that, because they must levy the maximum property tax rate to maintain equity and adequacy, the local property tax had become equivalent to a state ad valorem tax, which is prohibited by the Texas Constitution. They also argued that the state finance system underfunded public education, preventing the districts from meeting their responsibilities to promote the General Diffusion of Knowledge. 12) In September 2004, the Travis County District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and set a date of October 1, 2005 for the Texas Legislature to remedy the unconstitutional aspects of the school funding system, including unconstitutional aspects of facilities funding." 13) http://www.investintexasschools.org/schoolfunding/history.php

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