Texas Districts May Go Broke Next Year

Earlier today, a colleague shared a news release entitled "Sagging
Real Estate Values Widen State Deficit.

Here are some of the points that jump out at me:

  • Decreased commercial and industrial
    property values, an anemic economy and other factors have pushed
    forecasts of the Texas' real estatevalues
    into slightly bearish territory, state officials told
    House lawmakers today. And that translates into LESS property tax for
    school districts, which pulls down MORE state aid for public schools
    and that means a BIGGER state budget shortfall.
  • "It will cost ... somewhere between $2 billion and $3 billion
    more than we requested," Lisa Dawn-Fisher, deputy associate
    commissioner for school finance at the Texas Education Agency, told the

    Ways and Means Committee
  • Dawn-Fisher's colleague, the education agency's general counsel,
    David A. Anderson, was quick to add that lawmakers next year would be free to NOT
    cough up
    the extra money.
    However, he said, to do that, they'd have to change current law that
    automatically sends the state rushing in, if the districts' local tax revenues sag.
  • Bottom line: The state's two year budget shortfall,
    already estimated by some
    at nearly $21 billion, could be creeping towards as much as $23 billion.

Ok, to review, $23 billion budget shortfall for Texas. Since property
tax values are down, districts won't have local money to pay for bills,
AND, lawmakers are free to ignore their plight.

Hmm...the current reaction is to vote out anyone who is in office and
replace them with someone else. Maybe new legislators and governor will
be more apt to NOT ignore school districts hurting for funding?

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