Education Funding

Two Special Sessions Fail to Produce Aid Overhaul

By David J. Hoff — August 30, 2005 2 min read

The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2004 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.


For Texas legislators, the third time wasn’t the charm.

Gov. Rick Perry

12 Democrats
19 Republicans

62 Democrats
87 Republicans

4.4 million

After coming close to adopting a new school finance system in their regular session, lawmakers left the Capitol this month after a second special session without a school finance bill or any other notable accomplishments in K-12 education.

The lawmakers now are awaiting word from the state supreme court about whether their current school funding formula is constitutional.

They started their biennial regular session in January, and agreed that the current system is unpopular because it relies on skyrocketing property taxes and requires wealthy districts to share their revenue with poor ones. A trial judge has also declared the system unconstitutional because it fails to provide enough funding for the state’s neediest students.

Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, and other state leaders thought that would be enough of an impetus to rewrite the system before the state’s highest court rules on the case. After the regular session ended in July, Mr. Perry vetoed the K-12 budget the legislature had sent him and convened a special session to deal with school finance.

When the legislators failed to produce a new finance system in 30 days, he called them back again.

At several points, lawmakers came close to agreeing to a way to distribute education money, but they couldn’t reach a compromise on how to generate new revenues that would replace their proposed property-tax cuts.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a Republican and the state Senate’s president, blamed lobbyists, especially those in the energy industry, for blocking business taxes.

Speaker of the House Tom Craddick, also a member of the GOP, said during the second special session that the Senate’s bill didn’t include “meaningful property-tax relief and proper education reforms.”

“We should not pass a bill just to present the appearance that some action has been taken,” he said.

After the legislature adjourned the second time, Gov. Perry used his executive authority to implement some of his proposals. The most important one will be new rules that require districts to spend 65 percent of their money on classroom expenses.

The fate of the school finance system now lies in the hands of the Texas Supreme Court, which heard arguments on the state’s appeal in July. State officials expect a decision this fall. (“Texas Ends ’05 Session Without School Aid Rewrite,” June 8, 2005)

In the biennial budget passed during the second session, the legislature appropriated $36.8 billion for K-12 education in fiscal years 2006 and 2007. That’s a 6.2 percent increase over the previous biennium.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
Education Funding Opinion The COVID-19 Stimulus Money Won’t Last Forever. Here’s What's Next for Schools
There are three important first steps for states to start helping schools prepare now, write two policy experts.
Zahava Stadler & Victoria Jackson
5 min read
a group of people water a lightbulb plant, nurturing an idea
iStock/Getty Images
Education Funding Opinion What Ed. Leaders Can Learn From a Wildfire About Spending $129 Billion in Federal Funds
There are five entrenched routines that leaders should reject to forge a better path forward after the pandemic.
Kristen McQuillan
4 min read
Firefighters fighting fire
Education Funding Opinion Does Place-Based Giving Make It Harder for Funders to Get Reliable Feedback?
Big donors can be lulled into underestimating the financial, political, and information constraints of place-based philanthropy.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty