Education Funding

Two Special Sessions Fail to Produce Aid Overhaul

By David J. Hoff — August 30, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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.


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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.
Mathematics Webinar
What is it About Math? Making Math Figure-Out-Able
Join Pam Harris for an engaging session challenging how we approach math, resulting in real world math that is “figure-out-able” for anyone.
Content provided by hand2mind
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.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD

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 Schools Lost Ground on Funding in Recent Years. The Recovery Could Be Slow
School funding took a hit a few years ago. It might be some time before it recovers.
5 min read
Tight crop of a dollar bill puzzle missing one piece
Education Funding Here's How the Feds Are Spending $277M for Academic Recovery
A new round of grants from the Education Department aims to spur innovation in academic recovery, with initiatives in math, reading, and AI.
4 min read
Image of a dollar bill folded into an upward arrow.
Education Funding A Judge Just Ruled That Another State's School Funding System Is Unconstitutional
New Hampshire joins Pennsylvania on the list of states whose courts have ruled that it's underfunding poor school districts.
5 min read
Image of money symbol, books, gavel, and scale of justice.
DigitalVision Vectors
Education Funding This State Would Be the First to Reject Federal K-12 Funds. But It's Far From a Given
Tennessee lawmakers have established a task force to review federal education funding, risking money for low-income schools and special ed.
8 min read
Illustration of Benjamin Franklin on a one hundred dollar bill looking at a calculator that says "recalculating."
Laura Baker/Education Week and hamzaturkkol/iStock/Getty