Public School Finance: An Examination of Three Issues That Shape Public Policy and Implications for Texas School Districts
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Over the past twenty-five years, the state of Texas has witnessed numerous challenges to the constitutionality of its school finance formula. Texas school districts have come under increasing pressure to perform at a high level. Additionally, Texas school districts have struggled to maintain educational programs with limited budget resources. School districts with high property wealth are hit especially hard by Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code (Ratliff, 2001, p. 2). Many Texas school district officials are faced with the prospect of shrinking tax revenues and higher operating costs. State mandated performance tests coupled with the annual publication of Texas Education Agency rankings place Texas school district officials firmly within the center of the school finance debate. It is with this in mind that their opinions concerning school finance were of particular interest. The purpose of this research is three-fold. The first purpose is to elaborate on the three issues that shape the current school finance debate, namely equity, adequacy and accountability. This research will also explore current school finance policy alternatives. The second purpose is to describe the attitudes of Texas school district officials regarding the three key issues. The third purpose is to explore the attitudes of Texas school district officials concerning the effectiveness of Chapter 41 of the Texas education code.