The article shows the various efforts that the state of Texas has implemented in order to source funds for its schools.
The first laws enacted for the purpose of school funding were the Gilmer-Aikin Act which was passed in 1949. Under this law, the funds would be sourced from state and local donors. In my opinion, this is a very comprehensive law because it provided for a top to bottom reorganization of the state funding system (Coalition to Invest in Texas Schools, 2004).
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The current law right now is the “Robin Hood System” (Coalition to Invest In Texas Schools, 2004). From the name itself, the funding for schools would be sourced from the wealthy districts of Texas. The aim of this system is to ensure equity in financing the schools.
Soliciting the help of the affluent states of Texas is a good way of fostering cooperation among the districts of Texas. It would help the low income districts to use their funds for other activities (Coalition to Invest in Texas Schools, 2004).
In 2004, this system of using the revenue of wealthy districts was able to generate $1.2 billion annually which was used as budget by the Foundation Program of Finance. Putting an end to the Robin Hood System proved to be a difficult decision as the local government of Texas would have to find substitute funding in order to support the schools (Coalition to Invest in Texas Schools, 2004).
The Robin Hood System became very controversial and was even the reason for the filing of a class suit by more than 300 school districts. The main argument of the plaintiffs was that by levying the maximum rate on property tax, it became equal to the ad valorem tax levied by the state, which violated Texas Constitution (Coalition to Invest in Texas Schools, 2004).
The case needed three years before it was resolved. In September 2004, a decision was handed down in favor of the plaintiffs. In October 2005, the Travis County District Court ordered the Texas Legislature to resolve the unconstitutional element of the school funding system which also includes budget for facilities (Coalition to Invest In Texas Schools, 2004).
The article proves the fact that funding school systems is a very sensitive issue that should be addressed by the proper authorities.
Coalition to Invest in Texas Schools. (2004). A Brief History of School Funding in Texas.
Retrieved June 5, 2008 from http://www.investintexasschools.org/schoolfunding/history.php
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