Panel Releases Blueprint for Texas Education Reform

A commission appointed by the Texas Legislature, after more than a year of study, as recommended several proposals to improve the state's public schools, including asking taxpayers to pony up more money for programs designed to improve student performance, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The commission had previously recommended $1.73 billion, but a specific amount was not included in the final report.  There is no recommendation about where the new money should come from.

The recommendations will be debated when the Texas Legislature convenes next month.The board also recommended making major changes in the universally hated 'Robin Hood' system, which has been in place since a 1990s court order, which requires districts which have above average property tax collections to share that wealth with lower property wealth districts.

The panel's creation was prompted, largely, by growing anger over skyrocketing residential property taxes, which is the main source of revenue for public schools.   The commission recommended a 'local school district property tax cap' to ease those concerns.  

“This session, we have an opportunity to solve one of Texas’ most pressing challenges by reforming our broken school finance system and developing a model that creates a brighter and more promising future for our children," Gov Abbott said. "Texans expect and deserve for their leaders to solve this critical issue. Today’s school finance commission report made clear that the state must reform the broken Robin Hood system and allocate more state funding to education. This session, we will do just that.”

The report did not take a position on the most emotional issue that always accompanies talk of school funding reform...the possible consolidation of many of the state's more than 1,040 independent school districts.

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