Monday, April 03, 2006

Worse than Arkansas?

Texas will be coming back for a special legislative session to fix the mess some call "the school finance system." It's less a system than a patched-together hodgepodge of local taxes coupled with state sales tax. Added together, it equals significantly less than what school districts need to meet the standards required by the state.

In contrast to the image every has of us Texans, though, there is some awareness that there is a world outside of our borders. The Dallas Morning News ran an AP story about Arkansas' very similar problem:

The assembly's focus will be answering the state Supreme Court's 2005 ruling that Arkansas had not adequately funded education for the state's 450,000 students. The state faces a Dec. 1 deadline to address problems with the current funding formula.

Legislators are looking at an additional $132.5 million in funding over the next two years for the state's 251 school districts, plus a $90 million appropriation for repairing crumbling school buildings.

There is a significant difference though. In Texas, the Supreme Court warned that Texas schools were close to inadequacy but not there yet. The only aspect of the Texas system ruled unconstitutional was a statewide property tax -- and that appears to be the only thing the Texas Legislature wants to fix. Most of the Republican leadership down here has pledged whatever "fix" comes from a special session will be "revenue neutral." That is, no new money.

If you're a Texan, and you have any young children near the computer screen, please move them away because what I'm about to say is almost too horrible for even adults to consider:

If Arkansas invests in their schools and we don't, it is entirely possible that we might fall behind Arkansas. I shudder to think about it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can dat be? Gubner Good Hair and all my skool leedrs say we r soooo much bettr dan last yeer! And r standards r hi'r an our teechrs work harder for less dan evr before. We b in great shape!

7:33 AM  

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