February 21, 2011
Legislative Alert Get the Message Out: The State Does NOT Have to Cut Your District! We are concerned that a growing number of well-intentioned people are too quick to accept a reduction in public education funding. Now is not the time to wave a white flag and accept the notion that a significant loss of funds is inevitable. It isn't. The education of Texas children is too important to cut back, especially now in the face of significant increases in accountability demands. No districts, other than the highest funded, can afford to have their funding stream cut if they are to meet the challenges of global competition. Moreover, maintaining arbitrarily high funding levels at the expense of increasing the basic allotment will endanger the viability of the cost-based formula system. It is imperative that you contact your senators and representatives this week and tell them these three points are crucial to the children and taxpayers in your district.
The legislature does not have to cut your district’s funding at all. There are several ways to protect education funding. A few examples: • • • •
Use all of the Rainy Day Fund Utilize accounting measures (e.g. delay the 2013 July/August school district payments) Restructure the Franchise Tax Access other revenue enhancements (e.g. fees, alcohol and cigarette tax, surcharge on sugary drinks, etc.)
The state must establish a statutory road map to eliminate Target Revenue and fully implement an updated cost-based formula system that is good enough for every child in Texas. The transition to the new formula system must start immediately and be completed in a reasonable amount of time.
An essential component of the road map must be to reduce high Target Revenue funding levels to a level that is efficient and adequate for the education of all children – a level of formula funding that lower-funded districts must be brought up to. There is no justification for funding any district above that level.
*How to contact your elected officials: Click here to get the name, address, phone number and e-mail address of BOTH your state representative and state senator. In addition to your personal efforts, encourage your staff, community members, parents, and local leaders to reach out in every way possible to share these points – including phone calls, letters, e-mails, faxes and office visits (in Austin and at the local district office). 1220 Colorado Street, Suite 300 – Austin, Texas 78701 – 512.478.7313 – FAX 512.478.6433 – equitycenter.org