AUSTIN, TEXAS (Dec. 8, 2016) –The following statement setting the record straight on the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s (TPPF) recent claims about school districts and public debt should be attributed to Dr. Guy Sconzo, Executive Director of the Fast Growth School Coalition:
“While the Texas Public Policy Foundation is fond of recycling their data and statements on local public debt, we would invite them to take a closer look at the various reasons for increased local debt.
“We agree with TPPF that local debt for school districts has increased in recent years, and that’s a shame. Local, voter-approved public debt for school district facilities has risen, and it’s necessary because the state’s support for rapidly growing communities has declined significantly in recent years, leaving local taxpayers disproportionately shouldering the burden.
“In 2000-2001, the state covered 44.6 percent of total debt service for public schools. Today, the state only covers 7.4 percent, due to local value growth. The result is higher taxes at the local level.
“Over the next biennium, the state’s support for facilities funding will be reduced by 22 percent – roughly $309 million – due to local property tax value growth. It’s an even starker reality for fast growth school districts where state support for facilities has dwindled to zero in recent years.
“Local taxpayers shouldn’t have to shoulder this burden alone; nor should the state redirect taxpayers’ education dollars into other parts of the state budget and call it a ‘savings.’ We’re hopeful that the Texas Legislature will finally make progress on addressing school finance and supporting Texas public schools with the critical infrastructure funding that is needed.”
# # #
The Fast Growth School Coalition recently published a report on Enrollment, Debt & State Facilities Report that tackles many of the issues raised by TPPF’s latest comments on local debt. Access it online here.
For more information on the Fast Growth School Coalition’s Interim Report or to schedule an interview with Dr. Sconzo about the FGSC-recommended Legislative fixes, please contact Jennifer Harris, 512-773-7168 or jharris (at) jwhcommunications.com