In response to the article (“Isle leaders worry tax cap might hamper growth, recovery,” The Daily News, Jan. 1): Texas’ school funding system is puzzling; this makes it hard to understand who pays what. Let’s unpack how the system works. In 1979, the state merged all property appraisals under one authority by creating central appraisal districts, or CADs.

The state comptroller was assigned as the governing agency of CADs, to be in control of every aspect of the appraisal process, including training CAD appraisers, training the appraisal review board and bi-annually auditing CADs.

Each year, the comptroller’s property tax division conducts property value studies sampling property sales in school districts. If CAD values are more than 5 percent below state values, then the CAD must use the state values and raise appraisals.

The study findings has another function. The amount of funding per student is basically a fixed amount; however, who pays is determined by a complicated formula that includes the number of students and things such as learning difficulties. The formulas haven’t been updated since 1993, despite more challenges facing school districts.

The system is designed so that when property values increase, the state share of funding is cut and local property owners must make up the difference.

Since 2009, the state has reduced its share of school funding from 48 percent to 37 percent, and is projected to drop to 35 percent in 2019.

From 2009 to 2020, the state will have shifted $14 billion dollars to the backs of local property owners. This frees up state money to be used on programs other than education.

In September, Mike Morath, Texas education commissioner, told state budget writers that property values for 2018 and 2019 are projected to increase 6.8 percent each year; this will allow the state to cut $3.7 billion of its share of school funding for 2018-19.

The state has a vested interest in keeping property values high, because when property values increase, the state’s share of school funding decreases, shifting this added tax responsibility to local property owners. A tax cap has no effect on this.

The current state budget has a 14 percent property tax revenue item, proving the state is heavily dependent on rising property values — even though a state property tax is unconstitutional.

This scheme has a terrific political advantage, making it particularly hard to figure out exactly who is raising the price of your house every year; slick isn’t it?

Robin Hood is a separate issue, but another drain on school districts. Taxpayers have sent more than $20 billion to recapture, an amount more than the lottery.

Just ask Galveston Independent School District, which will be sending almost $30 million to recapture even though the school district will have a $2 million dollar budget deficit. Galveston isn’t alone. Robin Hood is a giant sucking machine; Austin ISD this year will send $533 million to the state, more than being spent by the school district.

The state needs to stop blaming local elected officials for their failures and quit stealing local property revenue.

Jack Cross lives in Texas City.


(20) comments

Diane Turski

Thank you for this explanation. We must start voting for state representatives who will start funding education properly instead of stealing money from the taxpayers!

Dalton Logan

That is one of the most absurd statements I have ever saw on this comment site.

Jose' Boix

Jack, thanks for your highlighting the facts of the issues with the property tax, upcoming legislation and school finance. We must all get together and ensure that needed changes move in the correct direction. Just consider that the Texas upcoming 86th Legislative Session will be consumed with a myriad of global issues all titled as "comprehensive reforms" such as immigration, school finance and health care, just to name three. Unless we concentrate on specific issues within the global ones, we will end with nothing once again. We can't afford such "results" this time. Just my thoughts.

David Hardee

Excellent rendition of the facts and flaws. The next step and most difficult is how to fix the system so it is fair and equitable to all. We need to throw the federal governments intrusion and mandates into the equation.
The sugar bowl of money flowing through the system has so many flies sopping their portion any tweaking will be difficult and almost impossible.
Consider the following:
The most potential and acceptable would be a state wide fixed per student voucher amount system paid by each COUNTY based on the number of students (# of students x per student fixed voucher amount = total fund ). Student Fund will be the accumulation of the actual prior year collection that is on deposit in escrow plus LOTTO contribution. The COUNTY collected prior year on deposit in escrow was resulted from a SCHOOL tax (added on to the STATE sales tax collected deposited and in escrow for Next years funding. Each student is individually identified as a resident by SS# and a voucher amount allocated per SS# to be drawn down based on attendance days.
The details of complications i.e. move ins, immigrants, what is excused absence and all etc(s) will need working out. Of course this would require a year of transition and funding in excess/addition to the current system.
Equity is to put the burden on the entire population and not just the one seqment of the society (property owners).
The dissolving of the many BUREAUCRATS and department s with a simplified system will create some economies. Many "PUBLIC SERVANTS will be screaming.
Dissolving the already floundering and bankrupt ISD's and replacing them with a non-political entity would be a great improvement. Terminating the FEDERAL tentacles and funds with their required mandates would be great. that would be a step in killing the corrosive effect the Lyndon Johnson "Great Society " has had causing the decline in the education of America.

Gary Miller

David! You and others thinking like you could solve the education problem. Eliminating ISD schools could be the start we need.

George Croix

Until this state gets some control over illegal entry into it, and the resulting massive additional costs for educating their kids (as but ONE of the massive costs), not a darn thing dreamed up as a remedy for school finance woes will amount to more than window dressing.
It's like attempting to plan for and have on hand enough food for a backyard party while being required to also feed anybody who can get into the yard, not just invited guests.....
Currently, hopeless...........

Jack Cross

Gorge hit the nail on the head. Illegals and legals born to illegals are destroying not only the school system but cities, Here is how. Texas has more students in school than 6 states have total population. Hispanics are the majority at 52 percent and growing every year while white student population is 37 percent and reducing every year. 66 percent of students are classified as poverty level. The property poor school districts are growing at a rapid rate, requiring more Robin Hood money.
it's a fact that students from poor or single parent families do poore in schools. Middle income families are fleeing these cities with poor schools. Houston ISD 8 percent white, Dallas 5.5 percent, San Antonio 1.8 percent. School districts along the border are about 100 percent Hispanic.
The state can't get enough ELS teachers because they can't pass the test, it is not because of Spanish it is because of so many dialects of the different countries.
it is a total mess and will get worse because of the birth rate even if they would close the border today. Most of Medicaid which is health insurance for the poor and Children's Health Insurance Program CHIP are majority Hispanic with costs this legislative $39 billion and is $5 billion short. The system is not substainable, the schools and welfare benefits and health care can't absorb so many poor people. That is not racist that is a fact, American taxpayers are the victim and we are ignoring American Children and our future


George Croix

The usual suspects don't CARE, Jack.
Their goal is ultimately total amnesty for illegals, then millions of current invaders followed by a never ending supply will become voters dependent on who they vote for for 'stuff'.
Thereby insuring yet another ultimately failed socialist which time the Canadians will have to build a wall on THEIR southern border, assuming they don't beat us to bankrupt first.....
Won't matter to me, but my grandkids, and theirs, deserve better than such unfixable crap..........

Paul Hyatt

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.” Benjamin Franklin

George Croix

Careful, Paul.
Say that too loud, and 'ol Benjamin will be added to Mueller's list.............he may not have had a permit to fly that kite.....[beam][beam]

Gary Scoggin

The assumption here is that all the Hispanic growth is from illegal immigrants. Not a good assumption. What are the numbers here?

George Croix

That's YOUR assumption of 'all'.
The fact is that ILLEGAL aliens are costing us Big Bucks, while the usual suspects do all they can to enable said theft from citizens and legal residents, at the same time as B'g about 'not enough funding'.
I KNOW you are sharp enough to differentiate between legal and illegal, so don't start acting like the usual suspects who don't have or won't use that ability....i

Gary Scoggin

Fair nough George. But when in the context of illegal immigrants numbers are bandied about that includes total Hispanics, we could assume that the Hispanic numbers are a proxy for the numbers of illegals. A case can be made for the impact of illegal immigration on public schools but it has to be based on sound numbers.

George Croix

Fair enough.
Then, here's a sound number for the impact of illegal immigration on public schools.
1 (one).
That's one too many...............
All others are just additions to the problem.................

George Croix

Here's another number for you, Gary.
10 (ten)
That's how many years ago the Dallas Morning News, no friend of the political right, published the following on the number of illegal aliens being educated in Texas and the cost of same. They used a best guess format because the usual suspects have seen to it that we can't 'offend' anybody by asking if the student they send to school is here illegally or not.

Remember, this is from 2009:

"At the lower end, researchers estimate between 125,000 and 150,000 illegal immigrants attended Texas public schools in 2009, making up 3 percent of Texas students and costing taxpayers more than $1 billion a year.
At the top end, the analysis provides a solid ceiling. State records show 92 percent of the state's schoolchildren have Social Security numbers on file, indicating they are legally in the United States. That means Texas cannot have more than 8 percent - about 400,000 illegal immigrant students - or spend more than $3.5 billion annually to educate them."

Low end 3% and a billion plus. Top end 8 plus percent and 3.5 billion. From a decade ago, and from a friendly source.

Anyone care to say that the numbers would be LESS today, after the 'come and get it' of catch and release, border rushes, 'caravans', et al?

Look, if one simply must support illegal aliens what whatever reason they can think up, then at least from time to time toss in some token feeling for the CITIZENS and LEGAL residents footing the bills for them, and don't pretend there's a 'net positive' to home invasion and theft.....that's all illegal immigration is, home invasion and theft of money and services......

Dalton Logan


Bill Cochrane

George, I hear Obama took care of securing his back yard buy having a 10 foot fence installed. Problem solved. LMAO!

George Croix

Bill, if Pres. Trump walked on water tomorrow the Left would just say he doesn't know how to swim.
If ex-Pres. Obama did the same thing....uh, well, never mind...there are so many who think he DID do that.............
Evidently, the promise and receipt of Free Stuff Promised comes with a major side effect.....

Jack Cross

Gary, you should know better, Hispanics, mostly now are coming from central America and yes not all are illegals, but their parents are, because the babies born are outpacing American citizens births. Check out Mdicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program CHIP majority Hispanic. $ 39 billion cost and and $5 billion short funding. Check out Texas already the majority in public schools but soon to be majority in the state as soon as 2023. Where do you think these people are coming from?

Texas Economy is great but the state has a School Funding Crisis, A highway funding Crisis, a Medicaid funding crisis. Why do you think that 66 percent of Texas school children are at the poverty level. Why do you think that the property poor school districts are increasing big time? Why is Robing Hood now costing school districts more than the Lottery is bringing in? Why are people leaving cities at an alarming rate to go the better schools for their children, this is hurting cities big time.

Texas is at a crisis stage, the system is not substainable. it is not about helping people it is about destroying the public schools system. 0nly one of the top 20 school districts are not Hispanic majority and that is Conroe ISD and that is by a slim 51 percent white. There will come a time when those pushing all this on American Citizens will say, why didn't someone stop all this craziness.

Paula Flinn

Central Americans are fleeing violence and asking for asylum at ports of entry. This, they say, is not illegal.

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