The Dallas Regional Chamber, along with other regional chambers that included the San Antonio Chamber, hosted a meeting early this week to discuss potential solutions for the pending school finance issues in Texas. In a private session with representatives from area businesses and statewide organizations representing school districts, teachers, and school boards, former House Education and Appropriations Chairmen Jimmie Don Aycock and John Otto engaged the audience in a healthy dialogue.
“There is no easy solution to the issue of how to fund Texas’ public schools,” said Chairman Aycock. “However, we can begin to make progress toward a better system once we all (community and business leaders) recognize that funding our schools is just as important as funding new roads.”
Beginning with a focus on the business member’s role in this discussion, participants learned about how the school finance system operates, local and statewide efforts to inform communities of how their property taxes are used, and how certain costs and allotments are determined for schools.
“There is this presumption that any taxes you pay toward your local ISD go exclusively to that ISD, and that is not necessarily the case,” said Chairman Otto. “The overall concept of recapture still does not readily resonate with many people including business leaders. This is why we as state leaders need to do a better job of educating the public on how this system works and why it needs fixing.”
This week’s session was the first of what the Chambers hope will be a series of meetings across the state to narrow down a focus on how school finance could be improved this session. If you are interested in learning more about this issue or participating in a future convening on this issue, please email Priscilla Camacho.