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Government/Politics

House Education Chairman Continues Crusade For Reform But Up Against A Wall

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Ryan E. Poppe
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 House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, a Republican from Killeen, introduced a bill that would provide most school districts with more money in per pupil spending. Aycock said that coming up with an appropriate formula and then getting members of the Legislature to agree with it has been a near impossible task.

“The question is where do you find the balance point? At what point do you say, ‘We’ve taken as much as we can take from the rich guys and we’ve given about as much as we can to the poor guys’? Finding that balance of the Robin Hood endeavors is a real hard issue,” Aycock explained.

He admitted that getting the necessary votes could be difficult, especially given that each House member represented an individual school district, each with individual financial needs. “The rural guys want more, the big schools want more, the demographic groups want more. Everybody wants more, as you talk about redistributing the money, everyone, as you talk about distributing the money, everyone wants their pie bigger, but they also want their piece of the pie to be bigger. So getting everybody to hold hands and play nice is sometimes difficult,” Aycock said.

Aycock and dozens of legislative colleagues announced the creation of his school finance reform bill earlier in the session, but support in both the House and Senate has begun to dwindle as the session winds down. Although there is a vote scheduled on the House floor this Thursday, lawmakers expect the legislation to go unaddressed this session, while the Texas Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments on whether Texas’ system for funding schools is unconstitutional.