June 13, 2011
The Texas House of Representatives voted today for an amendment that could direct over $2 billion more in funds to Texas schools! These new funds would come from increases in the state’s rainy day fund as it grows over the next year from high oil prices and other revenues as the economy rebounds.
These new funds could almost entirely close the remaining small funding gap for schools.
Over the last few months, Texas schools and the public have been unnecessarily panicked with daily reports on worst case scenarios regarding budget shortfalls. But in reality, the Texas House and Senate recently produced a school budget for next year that is 80% better than those worst case scenarios! The actual cuts next year would end up being only $1 billion, or just a 3% total reduction, which districts say they can manage. Now with this possible $2 billion more in rainy day funds targeted for schools, we could almost entirely close the funding gap for the following year. After that year, it’ll be time for a new legislative session and there will be a much stronger economy in which to create a new budget that should be able to fully fund schools.
The state constitution requires that our schools be properly funded, and that’s exactly what happened, despite all the extreme stories we’ve been subjected to.
In addition, many experts say that even more funding will be available for schools as the individual school districts raise their local tax rates, as well as spend from their own reserves. This new revenue would be on top of state funding, ensuring that school funding close any remaining funding gaps.