Experts Ask Texas Government to Support "Fast Growing" School Districts
AUSTIN, TX-- The Texas Senate has passed SB 457 (facility funding for charter schools), which Dr. Guy Sconzo, Executive Director of the Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC), felt the bill almost became a heavy expense for tax payers.
“With the passage of SB 457, the Texas Senate has prioritized charter schools while increasingly leaving local taxpayers holding the bill for public school facilities funding," Sconzo said.
He mentioned that the action taken by the Texas Senate puts taxpayers in a difficult situation. The bill, as amended, will provide $200 for each charter school student while kids in traditional school districts are worth $10 each, the FGSC press release read. He added that without Senator Watson’s amendments, charters would have received a startling $1300 per student while school districts get nothing.
“The reality is the Texas Senate has chosen to continue down a path of grossly diminishing state support for public school facilities funding (now 7 percent from its peak of 45 percent in 2000-2001)," Sconzo explained.
Sconzo mentioned that 79 percent of the new students entering Texas schools these past five years reside in just 75 of over 1,000 school districts, and most of these faster growing districts receive little or no state funding for facilities.
“The Fast Growth School Coalition is grateful for Sen. Kirk Watson’s amendments that (1) limits the funding for the bill to $100 million and (2) further states that $50 million must go to public school districts and that $50 million would go to charter schools," Sconzo added. “Sen. Jose Menendez also spoke eloquently about the needs of fast growth school districts, stating that the number of students fast growth districts serve far exceeds the charters’ ‘waiting list’ of students that Sen. Donna Campbell stated she was trying to help."
When businesses relocate and expand in Texas, fast growth school districts are their destination. By doing so, Sanzo believes it should ensure there is adequate funding for public schools and that it should also be a top priority because of the students they serve.
"[It's} also an economic imperative if we are to continue to attract business investment and job creation in our state," Sconzo explained.“While some state senators are choosing overcrowded classrooms and higher tax bills for local taxpayers, we hope the Texas House thoughtfully considers the needs of fast growth schools.”