A history of school finance litigation and legislation shows there are inherent and structural problems in Texas’s education finance system. Like many government and social structures, the Texas school finance system is built to benefit school districts that have greater access to wealth to begin with and creates inequalities between rich and poor populations as well as between people of color and Caucasians. House Bill 3 went into effect in 2019 and promises improvements to “recapture” calculations, increases in certain allotments, as well as salary increases for some Texas teachers. Some changes to education finance were sorely needed such as updating formulas to increase funds for students in average daily attendance. Others are likely to cause more problems down the road such as lessening the amount of recapture payments wealthy districts have to make. House Bill 3 makes some welcome changes and provides some relief for Texas schools and employees, but House Bill 3 lacks a sustainable source of funding to continue the relief into the future. The Texas Legislature needs to continue to make education finance a priority and act to create reliable sources of funding for HB 3’s promises to continue past 2021. Creative legislation that opens new or currently unused sources of funding will be a critical solution for education finance as money is already stretched tight in other areas of the state’s budget. Ultimately, it will be students of color that go to poorer districts who will suffer the most if the promises HB3 makes fall through. Texas’s recent history exemplifies the volatile nature of legislature and the economy. When the economy is in turmoil, education suffers and that is why promises are not enough. Texas voters and move makers need to demand a specific plan with longevity for how the state is going to pay for the improvements it makes and how funding will weather an economic storm.
The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice
Candace L. Castillo,
House Bill 3: An IOU Texas Public Schools and Communities of Color Cannot Afford,
Available at: https://commons.stmarytx.edu/thescholar/vol23/iss1/3
St. Mary's University School of Law
Candace L. Castillo
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