Core Principles on School Finance
Core Principles on School
Revised September 2008
The following statements of core principles were developed collaboratively by all participating
Coalition organizations and are a framework for evaluating legislative proposals related to school
Article 7, Section 1 -Support and Maintenance ofa System ofPublic Free Schools. A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.
Adequacy -For the school finance system to provide a "general diffusion of knowledge," it
Fully fund the foundation school program;
Recognize the dynamic nature of educational requirements and expectations, changing socioeconomic
factors, and appropriate cost differentials, providing up-to-date cost adjustments for varying student needs and district characteristics; and
Provide a meaningful opportunity for each Texas student and school district to meet all local, state, and federal performance expectations.
Equity -For the school finance system to provide "an efficient system of public free schools," it should:
Close the funding gap in order to provide "substantially equal access to similar revenue per student at similar tax effort," considering all state and local tax revenues; and
Replace the current hold-harmless system of funding with an adequate and equitable formulabased
system for all school districts.
Capacity -For the school finance system to "make suitable provision for the support and
maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools," it should:
• Create stable state revenue sources in order to increase and maintain the state share of public school funding;
• Cease using local property value growth as a source of state revenue and reallocate those I funds into public education;
Assure funding for enrollment growth and inflation each year; and
Provide state support for existing debt and new instructional facilities, ensuring that support for facilities meets the equity principle.
Meaningful Discretion -For the school finance system to avoid creating an unconstitutional de
facto state property tax, it should:
• Allow local school boards "meaningful discretion" in the levying of taxes and the allocation of tax proceeds beyond that required to meet the state's educational requirements; and
I. Provide "meaningful discretion," by allowing a local board's sole discretionary authority to apply to all 17 cents of its property taxing authority.
Local Control-The Coalition opposes the use of public funds to provide financial resources to private elementary and secondary schools through funding of programs or materials, tax credits, or vouchers.