Notes from Equity Center Meeting

One of the presenters at the Equity Center meeting last week was Representative Jimmie Don Aycock. Representative Aycock’s district is in the Central Texas area and includes the counties of Lampasas, Burnet, and Bell. I would like to share some of Representative Aycock’s thoughts about education and the state in general:

  • Currently, revenue in Texas is up.
  • Unemployment is down.
  • Tax revenue is determined by the Ways and Means Committee – no education committee is involved in taxes.
  • Likely to have many changes in the legislature in the coming session.
  • Representative Aycock talked about the “tool box for the legislature.” These are ideas that were all presented as solutions to the school funding issue in the last legislative session:
    • Change tax policy and increase revenue.
    • Redistribution (taking from wealthy districts and giving to poorer districts).
    • Increase local property tax.
    • Cutting programs.
    • Reducing requirements.
    • Consolidating districts.
    • Redefine state role in the general diffusion of knowledge.
    • Taxpayer Grant Program – pay parents for taking students out of public schools.
    • Changing the accountability system.
    • Reporting requirements.
    • Reducing NIFA and EDA funding (this funding helps districts pay for new instructional facilities and helps pay for bonds that have been issued for building purposes).
    • Curriculum development.
    • Adjustments or elimination of the small and mid-sized school formulas.
  • Need solutions for the long term.
  • Sees trend for more career and technology courses and more vocational education.
  • Believes that there might be a record high drop out rate with this years 9th graders due to the requirements of the end of course tests.
  • Must provide a good value to the students and to the taxpaying public.
  • Legislature and schools must move past the antagonistic roles that have developed of the last few years and get to the point where we are communicating and listening.
  • Public will eventually fund what it values.

I appreciate that Representative Aycock took the time to visit with us and to share his thoughts. His honesty about certain topics was certainly refreshing and appreciated. I certainly concur with his observation that the legislature and school districts must work closely together and that both share an equal burden in communicating and listening.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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