Education and Property in Texas

Education and Property in Texas

Education and Property in Texas

Properly Fund Public Education

One of our guiding Texas values is that every child should their best opportunity to achieve his or her God-given potential. Our commitment to achieving this goal must include properly funding public education. Over the several most recent legislative sessions the state to local
share of funding has dropped below 40% and appears poised to still further fall. Not only does this shortfall fail our kids it punishes our property owners. The State of Texas needs to meet its commitment to fund at least 50% of public education. This would be a big help to
both our schools and our property owners.

Where’s the money?

There needs to be a review of the “Equal and Uniform” clause in the appraisal guidelines and a renewal of the balance between individual property owners, small business, and larger corporate property owners. The ability of corporate owners to take advantage of property
comparisons under this clause is resulting in a revenue shortfall for education and a disproportionate burden being placed on small business and individual owners. We should also reconsider the state’s investment in areas that are primarily federal responsibility such as
border security.

No vouchers

Texas has not historically been over-generous in public education funding and has been seriously underfunding our schools since 2011. It is the height of hypocrisy to claim insufficient resources and then divide resources. Many non-public schools are excellent but also quite expensive. The 25 most costly private schools in the DFW area in 2015 had an annual tuition rate ranging from a little over $28K to a little under $18K. In other words, a five to seven thousand dollar voucher would be a nice coupon for folks already in those schools but would not open the doors for a major influx of additional students. We can’t all attend excellent private schools but we can all attend excellent public schools if we help them be excellent.

Hard caps on class sizes—particularly in lower grades

Virtually every study shows that individual instruction is directly related to a student’s development. I understand that population growth and funding shortages have sometimes forced districts to request temporary waivers but they should be just that—temporary.
Teachers must have the opportunity to work with their kids as individuals.

Standardized Testing—a tool not a solution

The emphasis on testing should be dialed down as should the costs. Testing metrics ought to be employed to better understand the methodologies available to assist specific students or teachers but they should be useful tools not career changers. If the test becomes the main measurement for career advancement it is only reasonable for teachers to teach to them and other areas, such as critical thinking, can be sacrificed. If we don’t want this outcome, and I believe we don’t, tests cannot be the determinative factor.

Reward service and loyalty

If we want to keep dedicated educators we have to fairly compensate them. We should maintain a floor salary that includes annual increases based on experience and we should fund a larger share of teacher health care. We must also continue to allow dues check off for
teachers’ associations.