The League of Women Voters of Texas supports a school finance system that would provide taxpayer equity and an equitable distribution of funds to ensure that all Texas school children receive a high quality education.
Specific measures that we support include...
- a sufficient level of state support to Texas public schools to ensure that all Texas school children receive a high quality education
- a guaranteed tax base yield approach for part of the local enrichment, to mitigate spending disparities resulting from differences in wealth among school districts in Texas; however, the League believes some unequalized local enrichment should be allowed within a substantially equalized system
- equalized state assistance to districts for essential capital outlays
- taxpayer equity in the form of state equalization aid to local districts allotted in direct proportion to local tax effort
- state established minimum local expenditure levels with joint state-local financing (known as the foundation school approach) that includes:
- adequate salaries to attract and retain qualified teachers and/or teaching personnel
- adequate funding of the basic allotment, which provides for operations and programs for special categories of students, specifically vocational education, compensatory education, special education, kindergarten, and gifted and talented
- maintenance of a weighted approach to distribution of state school finance money to meet individual student needs.
The League of Women Voters of Texas opposes:
- the voucher system as well as choice options that do not promote racial integration and/or equal access to quality education
- any state requirement that local districts use state school finance monies to provide local tax relief.
Public School Testing and Accountability
Measures to achieve state-mandated standardized achievement tests that measure individual mastery and proficiency, are used as a diagnostic tool to measure growth and progress overtime, and are developed by Texas educators who are experts in their fields. Also...
- a curriculum that provides academic rigor and is developed with input from educators, the public, business groups and elected and appointed officials who represent the state's diverse population
- an accountability system that identifies academic achievement and gaps in performance in subgroups but is not used to establish school or district ratings or to close schools
- equitable opportunity for academic achievement for all students, and support for teachers in the mandated testing environment.
Explanation: Public School Finance
Our school finance positions are the products of two separate studies undertaken by LWV-TX and two subsequent periodic program reviews.
The first study was adopted in 1972, and the resulting consensus led to active League involvement in school finance legislation during regular and special sessions from 1973-1979.
Because new issues were raised during these sessions and because League members wished to clarify some positions reached earlier, delegates to the 1979 Convention adopted a restudy of the Texas school finance system. The restudy was completed in 1981. In 1992, the LWV-TX Periodic Program Review committee reviewed the PSF positions and recommended extensive revision. Most of the recommendations involved updating terminology, but the review committee suggested substantive changes in the positions concerning equalization of facilities funding and caps on local enrichment. All of the recommendations were approved at the 1993 state Convention. In 2003, the LWV-TX Periodic Program Review committee again recommended changes in the position most notably by adding a section on accountability of charter schools. The recommendations were approved at the 2003 state Convention.