The following statement should be attributed to Dr. Guy Sconzo, Executive Director of Fast Growth School Coalition regarding the Lt. Governor’s statements that public school facilities funding is contingent upon passage of school voucher legislation:
“It is unfortunate that our Lieutenant Governor is holding public school facilities funding and school finance reform hostage in exchange for an unpopular school voucher program that both Republican and Democrat members of the Texas Legislature have long opposed.
“The New Instructional Facilities Allotment (NIFA) helps any district or charter that is opening a campus on behalf of new students. Additionally, there are allotment programs in place (EDA and IFA) that would provide real property tax relief for local taxpayers in the form of facilities assistance.
“The state’s contribution to these programs has declined from 45 percent of total facilities debt to a shockingly low 7 percent. But, instead of providing property tax relief and properly funding Texas public schools, the Lieutenant Governor wants a school voucher program and facilities funding for charter schools. In fact, the Senate’s version of HB 21 provides approximately $200 per charter student for facilities and $10 per school district student for facilities.
“Our simple response: thanks, but no thanks. Rather than put politics ahead of policy priorities, we’re grateful for leaders in the Texas Legislature, including Speaker Straus and House Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty, who have focused on real reform and school finance solutions.
“Fast growth schools, our communities and local taxpayers choose to continue protecting our most vulnerable Texans by strengthening our locally accountable public school systems, and we look forward to working with future legislatures as we seek to update meaningful school facilities funding programs.”
# # #
May 22, 2017
Media Contact: Jennifer Harris, jharris (at) jwhcommunications.com