Public Education

When the current Texas public school finance system was established in 1993, it was envisioned to be a temporary measure that would satisfy the courts until the Legislature could come up with a permanent strategy. Eleven years later, the system's inherent weaknesses are becoming increasingly visible, and there is a renewed sense of urgency to find a more permanent solution.  

As the Legislature continues to debate alternatives to the current system, Texas Impact calls on Texas lawmakers to enact a public school finance system that is both FAIR and ENOUGH.

1. Texas' public school finance system must be FAIR, both in how revenues are collected and in how funds are distributed.

  • Individuals and groups with more resources should contribute at least as large shares as those with fewer resources.
  • Funds should be distributed so that every Texas child has access to the same quality of education.

2. Texas' public school system must provide ENOUGH to fund the existing school system. Examples of insufficient funding in the current system include overcrowded classrooms, diminished teacher benefits, and use of outdated textbooks.

How does Texas' public school finance system work now?

"The Basics of Texas School Finance" from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), January 2003--a great overview for those who are unfamiliar with school finance

Basics of Texas School Finance PDF (downloads a file that will print nicely formatted, requires "Adobe Acrobat Reader") Basics of Texas School Finance HTML (read it directly on the computer screen)

How did we get this system?

Texas Supreme Court Decision: Edgewood v. Kirby, 1989

"At issue is the constitutionality of the Texas system for financing the education of public

school children. Edgewood Independent School District, sixty-seven other school districts,

and numerous individual school children and parents filed suit seeking a declaration that the

Texas school financing system violates the Texas Constitution. The trial court rendered

judgment to that effect and declared that the system violates the Texas Constitution, article I,

section 3, article I, section 19, and article VII, section 1. By a 2-1 vote, the court of appeals

reversed that judgment and declared the system constitutional. 761 S.W.2d 859 (1988). We

reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and, with modification, affirm that of the trial


Edgewood PDF (downloads a file that will print nicely formatted, requires "Adobe Acrobat Reader") Edgewood HTML (read it directly on the computer screen)


What is at stake in changing the current system?

The Texas Latino Education Coalition website has information by school district on how changes to the current public school finance system would affect schools and taxpayers in your community. The website also has excellent concise discussion of the issue of equity versus adequacy in public education.

What is being proposed?

Texas Public School Finance Project (the legislative committee that has been meeting for the past several months) (website)

What are people saying about possible changes?

Following are links to websites that feature extensive media coverage of public school finance.

Equity Center

Texas Education Crisis Coalition

Coalition to Invest in Texas Schools

The Bigger Picture: Understanding the Texas Revenue System

Information from the Center for Public Policy Priorities on the Texas Tax System including "The Texas Budget and Tax Primer"