State Rep. James White Proposes Revenue-Neutral School Finance Reform
February 28, 2011, Austin, TX – Representative James White (R-Hillister) today discussed a proposal to provide a revenue-neutral school finance reform plan.
Rep. White said, "The current school funding finance system is unconstitutional, indefensible, and immoral and is driven by an impractical assessment system. It is unconstitutional in that the system is clearly not equal and efficient, with some school districts receiving funding at $8,000 per student, while others receive $5,000 per student. It is indefensible in that only a few people in the state can explain the system. It is immoral to the extent that financing is based on a student's zip code and proximity to natural resources. The school finance system we are using now is more big government because it is too difficult and convoluted for our taxpayers to understand."
The proposal calls for revision of our school finance system to move to a basic allotment in order to produce a revenue-neutral system and eliminate the current target revenue, hold-harmless school finance regime.Under a revenue-neutral plan using a basic allotment, more schools across the State would gain greater flexibility in the way they fund their districts. The prevailing benefits under a new system would be to provide greater equity per student and per taxpayer, eliminate the current emphasis on target revenue, hold-harmless priorities, provide increased categorical funding for compensatory education, career and technology, gifted and talented, bilingual, and special education programs, and significantly reduce the risk of new school finance litigation.
Rep. White continued, "A big reason for our education system's current status is the inefficient and inequitable way we finance our schools. Under our current school finance system, school districts located in high income areas or physically found on rich mineral deposits are afforded tremendous flexibility in financing their students' education. But for the rest of the State, which is over seventy percent of our school districts in Texas, if you do not fit in one of those two categories, you are at a systemic disadvantage before you even get to the starting blocks. I believe we can do better than the current school finance system that is in place, and this proposed new approach would narrow or eradicate some of the huge disparities in the Texas school finance system as it currently exists."
Representative White represents House District 12 which includes Angelina, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Tyler counties. He serves on the County Affairs and Corrections committees in the Texas House. Representative White lives in Hillister.