First Look — Senate Budget Update Improves Health, Higher Ed. Funding

Eva DeLuna Castro

Today the Senate Finance Committee approved its substitute for the Senate budget proposal (Senate Bill 1), the General Appropriations Act for 2018 and 2019. Total spending proposed for the next budget cycle in SB 1 is $217.7 billion, a 0.7 percent increase compared to the $216 billion in state and federal revenue budgeted for 2016-17. This means a real spending drop of almost eight percent, once population growth and inflation are taken into account. Total General Revenue spending would be $106.3 billion, which would be a 1.6 percent drop from 2016-17 even before any population or inflation adjustment.

Tweens at Risk of Dropping out before High School

Chandra Kring Villanueva

Texas students in grades four through eight (known as “the middle grades”) are considered at-risk in the education pipeline. These “tweens” are at a make or break period for determining future academic success. Research has shown that students who are not proficient in reading by the beginning of fourth grade are four times more likely […]

House Public Education Committee takes on School Finance Reform with HB 21

Chandra Kring Villanueva

You can print out a copy of this post as a 2-pager here. Delivering on their promise to address the minimally constitutional school finance system this session, the House Public Education Committee heard HB 21 by Chairman Dan Huberty. HB 21 is a good first step toward improving the school finance system because it aims […]

How Texas Education Chief Gave $100 Million to Rich Homeowners

Dick Lavine

Recently the Texas Education Commissioner changed the interpretation of a long-standing statue in order to give $100 million to wealthy homeowners in wealthy school districts. KEY TAKEAWAYS: *It’s understandable that school districts have concerns about the underfunding of the Texas public school finance system and want state leaders to make changes. *But a sudden, under-the-radar […]

When debating school finance, don’t leave out Pre-K

Chandra Kring Villanueva

One of the most effective ways we can help kids compete and succeed in life is to make sure they are ready to start Kindergarten. Research has shown positive results from the state-supported Pre-K program, yet Texas regularly receives low marks for quality in the National Institute for Early Education Research’s (NIEER) annual State of […]

Are You Ready for Texas Budget Season? An Infographic

Eva DeLuna Castro

If you’re a budget analyst like me, the summer before the Legislature meets is as exciting as watching a rodeo rider get ready for what’s always a wild ride. Even if you’re not a budget analyst, it’s worth paying attention to how and where Texas lawmakers decide to invest the state and federal money that […]

Texas Must Get Serious About Workforce Development

Garrett Groves

If Texas wants to remain one of the top states for business growth and job creation, then we must get serious about workforce development. We currently rank 40th in the nation with only 35 percent of adults attaining a postsecondary degree, compared to 41 percent nationally. And we trail every state except California in the percent […]

Friday the 13th for Texas Kids

Ann Beeson

The Texas Supreme Court forecast a scary future for Texas kids with their Friday the 13th school finance decision last week. While the Court repeatedly acknowledged serious flaws in how we support public education, they refused to do anything about it. What’s the point of having a right to education enshrined in the Texas Constitution, […]

What’s at Stake in the School Finance Ruling

Chandra Kring Villanueva

We’re eagerly awaiting the Texas Supreme Court’s school finance ruling, expected almost any day. It’s a good time to consider what it would take for our school finance system to adequately and equitably fund our public schools so all Texas kids have access to a quality education, no matter where they live or what their […]

On the Road Again

Ann Beeson

One of the things I love about my job is the chance to travel around the state and meet Texans committed to helping other Texans reach their full potential. Last week I spent two days in Fort Worth, inspired by the can-do spirit of Cowtown. Leadership Fort Worth sponsored a top-notch gathering of business and […]