May 9, 2019      10:41 AM
KR: In school finance, a heated battle over current versus prior year values
It is difficult to float those extra dollars, however temporary, if the state intends to put a cap on revenue. How would that 2.5 percent revenue cap be calculated if a portion of school district funding is expected eventually to go back to the state? Should funding go out under prior year values, but caps be based on current-year values?
Some of the state’s biggest school districts have sent a
letter to the conferees on House Bill 3, asking members to
remove current year values from school finance calculations in the bill. And
now their allies include the largest superintendent association in the state.
The current year versus prior year value question has
become one of the most heated debates in the school finance bill.
Groups like the Fast-Growth School Coalition and the
School Coalition – and now the Texas Association of School Superintendents
– want to maintain the prior year values benefit, which can often give school districts
with property value growth a cushion to handle some of the unexpected costs of
At first, the argument was about logistics. School
districts approve raises and hiring numbers in March, hold tax rate and budget
hearings in May or June and finalize tax rates after the Comptroller releases
his property value study in August.
By Kimberly Reeves