Senate’s Passage of SB 457 Provides Charter Facilities Funding and Little Relief for Local Taxpayers
AUSTIN, TEXAS—The following statement on the Senate’s passage of SB 457 (facility funding for charter schools) should be attributed to Dr. Guy Sconzo, Executive Director of the Fast Growth School Coalition:
“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.
“Today’s action 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. And without Senator Watson’s amendments, charters would have received a startling $1300 per student while school districts got 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).
“Seventy-nine 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 fast growth districts receive little or no state funding for facilities, making today’s action by the Senate even more alarming.
“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.
“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 and ensuring we adequately fund our public schools is not just a constitutional imperative for the students we serve, but also an economic imperative if we are to continue to attract business investment and job creation in our state.
“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.”
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Media Contact: Jennifer Harris, jharris (at) jwhcommunications (dot) com, 512-773-7168