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Government/Politics

Contentious School Finance Repair Bill Pulled Due To Lack Of Votes

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Ryan E. Poppe
/
A bill some lawmakers hoped would fix some part of the state's state’s school funding problems never made it to a House vote.";

The bill faced incredible odds. House Public Education Chair Jimmie Don Aycock, would have had to find enough votes, debated dozens of amendments, and staved off multiple attempts to kill his bill. So Aycock backed off and took down his proposed legislation. “I don’t think it’s fair that we leave this bill pending and kill everything else that’s up, when we know that the Senate will almost certainly kill the measure, if we pass it,” Aycock explained.

But before doing that, Aycock managed to stress the importance of his bill, which would have pumped $800 million into the school finance system, and changed how much some school districts receive per student.  

Aycock attempted to discuss the bill on the House floor with Finance Chair John Otto. “I have received notices from members in my district, they want the money we’ve set aside to deal with this issue. But in some cases, the things you are changing in your bill, they would rather leave it as is, but if we leave as is currently, do we ever achieve equity?” asked Otto.

Aycock responded, “I don’t think so, it’s like remodeling, it’s always an unpleasant experience”.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Public Education Chair Jimmie Don Aycock,

  But, just like with home repairs, Aycock said that if you did not start off with a good foundation, you would likely have to start over. “There are two issues involved, one of which is the amount of money that you put in the system, and the other, equally important, is how you distribute that money by the distribution models,” he said.

It’s an issue that prompted House Speaker Joe Straus to issue this statement: “The challenges in our school finance system are not going away. Solving these challenges will require a sustained and serious commitment by not only the House, but also the Senate.”

The Texas Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments this September, on a district judge’s ruling that called the state’s system for funding public education unconstitutional.