After the Texas Commission on Public School Finance met to finalize its report to the legislature this week, two of Texas’ statewide leaders are applauding the commission’s work.
The report, which is set to be officially published later this month, offers over 30 recommendations to the legislature on ways to improve school finance — an issue that presumptive Speaker of the Texas House Dennis Bonnen said would be a top priority of his chamber.
The recommendations were approved unanimously by the 13-member committee, which consisted of appointees chosen by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and outgoing Speaker Joe Straus.
Not only does the report recommend boosting state spending in public education, it also contains recommendations for increasing teacher pay, ending the current Robin Hood mechanism of wealth redistribution, and providing property tax relief for Texans.
Shortly after the commission wrapped up its final meeting, Gov. Greg Abbott applauded their efforts.
“This session, we have an opportunity to solve one of Texas’ most pressing challenges by reforming our broken school finance system and developing a model that creates a brighter and more promising future for our children,” said Abbott. “Texans expect and deserve for their leaders to solve this critical issue. Today’s school finance commission report made clear that the state must reform the broken Robin Hood system and allocate more state funding to education. This session, we will do just that.”
Likewise, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick congratulated the commission and committed to working on their recommendations in the upcoming legislative session.
“I want to congratulate Sens. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Royce West (D-Dallas), and my appointee, Superintendent Doug Killian [of] Pflugerville ISD, for their hard work during the interim on the School Finance Commission,” said Patrick. “The final report, which was voted out unanimously late yesterday, echoes my priorities to reform our school finance system — including property taxes — and substantially increase pay for our teachers. I am committed to passing these reforms and I am confident that the Senate will support them.”
The School Finance Commission was a special session priority for Abbott. Created in the final hours of the special session in August as part of a compromise on House Bill 21 (an omnibus education bill), the commission was charged with studying the methods by which the state funds public education prior to the next legislative session and then making recommendations to the governor and lawmakers.
These recommendations and other ideas will be considered by lawmakers when the Texas Legislature reconvenes in January. While educrats and lobbyists will inevitably hijack any discussion on school finance to advocate for a spending spree, conservatives must ensure that the conversation centers on providing meaningful and lasting property tax relief.