Sunday, June 12, 2011

Texas School Districts Consider Tax Increases to Fill State Cuts To Education

The New York Times has an interesting article titled School Districts Look at Increase in Tax Rates out today (6/12/11), which discusses tax options faced by Texas school districts in the wake of state funding cuts to education.

In the recent legislative session, Texas cut $4 billion from the education budget.  According to the article,
The local part of public education financing in Texas comes from property taxes: maintenance-and-operations rates set by school boards and, if applicable, a facilities bond interest rate.  In 2006, as part of an overhaul of the state’s school finance system, the Legislature voted to reduce property tax rates by a third, setting the majority of districts’ maintenance-and-operations rates at $1 per $100 of property value, with a cap of $1.17. Any district that wants to levy a tax rate higher than $1.04 must hold a “tax ratification election.” About 20 percent of districts have already reached the $1.17 limit...
While Arizona is "an equalized funding state", school districts still vote individually for maintenance and operation overrides, capital overrides and bonds.  It is interesting to see how other states handle these issues when Arizonans are discussing the funding of our public education system.  Issues such as local commitment to education funding and equal funding statewide are topics of discussion in the wake of substantial cuts to education in the two most recent sessions of the Arizona Legislature.

To read the rest of the New York Times article, click here.

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