Prop. #7 Funding Public Education

Prop. #7 Funding Public Education

Prop. 7 Funding Public Education

Proposition 7 (HJR 151)  “The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.”

Explanation

The School Land Board, an independent entity of the General Land Office, oversees the management, sale and leasing of more than 13 million acres of land for the Permanent School Fund. The State Board of Education can then make distributions from this fund to the Available School Fund.  The revenue generated from the land is used to purchase real estate and make investments to help fund public education through the Available School Fund.

This proposition would increase from $300 million to $600 million the amount the General Land Office could distribute to the Available School Fund each year.

Arguments For

  • This proposition will improve funding for public schools by doubling the distribution from the School Land Board to the Available School Fund.
  • Were it not for the $300 million cap in the Texas Constitution, this could have been happening already, making more money available for public education.
  • As more money is available to school districts from the state Available School Fund, they should need to rely less on local property taxes.

Arguments Against

  • Both the School Land Board and the State Board of Education have responsibilities for managing the Permanent School Fund.  If the School Land Board makes larger deposits directly to the Available School Fund rather than into the Permanent School Fund, it changes the amount the State Board of Education is required to distribute from the Permanent School fund.
  • The State Board of Education is required to make a percentage-based biennial distribution to the Available School Fund.  If they have less money in the Permanent School Fund, it might result in lower overall school funding.
  • In the past, the School Land Board made questionable investments at the expense of public education funding. With the opportunity to make larger contributions, it might increase the lure of debatable investments.

For more information: House Research Organization HJR 151