Skip Navigation
Angelo State University
Library

Search Site

Information for:

School Finance in Texas: a Selected Bibliography

On September 15, 2004, State District Judge John Dietz ruled Texas' $30 billion system for financing public education unconstitutional. More than 300 school districts brought the lawsuit against the state, contending that the system violated the state constitution by not providing equal educational opportunity. The case was appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

We now hold, as did the district court, that local ad valorem taxes have become a state property tax in violation of Article VIII, section 1-e, as we warned ten years ago they inevitably would, absent a change in course, which has not happened. … To end the constitutional violation, we agree with the district court that the use of the current system must be enjoined.— Supreme Court of Texas, November 22, 2005

On November 22, 2005, in Shirley Neeley, Texas Commissioner of Education, et al. v. West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District, et al. (no. 04-1144), the Texas Supreme Court found that the state’s method of financing public schools violated the constitutional prohibition against a state property tax. The Court gave the Legislature a June 1, 2006, deadline to solve the problem. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry charged the bipartisan Texas Tax Reform Commission, chaired by John Sharp, to recommend reforms to the Texas tax structure that would provide a stable and long-term source of funding for public schools. The Commission released its final report (Tax fairness: property tax relief for Texans) on March 29, 2006. The governor called the Legislature back to Austin for a third special session on the school funding issue. The 30-day session started April 17; legislators completed their work at the end of May. Gov. Perry signed HB 1-HB 5 on May 31, 2006.

The following bibliography includes legislative reports from the past few Legislative sessions and publications from the House Research Organization, the Senate Research Center, the Texas School Finance Project (at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University), the Texas Education Agency, and the Comptroller's Office. Users will find reference to publications on property taxes, video lottery terminals, educational accountability, teachers' compensation and health insurance, school district facilities and financial information, and dropout data, all of which were topics considered in past school finance debates.

Most of the documents listed are available online and in paper; some are available only in paper in the Texas Documents collection, some only online. Many additional publications, not just government publications, can be located by searching RamCat. A list of subject headings are provided at the end of the bibliography as starting points for further research. These subject headings are active links to canned searches in RamCat.


Quick Links:  Facts & Figures on Education, School Finance, and Taxes  |  Library of Congress Subject Headings to Use in RamCat  |  School Finance Reform and Property Tax Relief (3d called session)  |  Selected Bibliography  |  Supreme Court of Texas School Finance Orders and Opinions  |  Return to 79th Texas Legislative Session web page 

Supreme Court of Texas School Finance Orders and Opinions

  • Justice Hecht delivered the opinion of the Court in Neeley v. West Orange-Cove Consolidated I.S.D.
  • Justice Brister delivered a dissenting opinion

School Finance Reform and Property Tax Relief
(79th Legislature, 3rd Called Session)

  • H.B. 1 (Public school finance and property tax relief)
  • H.B. 2 (Property tax relief)
  • H.B. 3 (Tax Code amendment)
  • H.B. 4 (Tax Code amendment)
  • H.B. 5 (Tax Code amendment)

back.jpg Return to Top


Selected Bibliography

Alofsin, Patricia & Goodson, John J. (1997, March 24). The tax system and public school financing in Texas. (Session focus, no. 75-11) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.75-11)

"On January 29, 1997, the House Select Committee on Revenue & Public Education Funding met for the first time to consider Governor George W. Bush’s property tax relief proposal. The governor proposed to reduce local property taxes by using state revenue to cover a greater share of public education financing. One month later the committee set aside the governor’s plan in order to examine the two issues of taxation and public school financing from a broader perspective. The question facing the committee, chaired by Rep. Paul Sadler, was whether to focus solely on property tax relief or to devise a tax system that would adequately fund public education for the future. While the committee supported property tax reform, it expressed general agreement that this change alone would not be sufficient to satisfy future public funding needs for public education."

Baker, Bruce D.; Taylor, Lori; & Vedlitz, Arnold. (2005 September). Measuring educational adequacy in public schools. (Bush School working paper #580. Updates and extends a report commissioned by Texas' Joint Select Committee for Public School Finance) [PDF, 35 pp.]

Blair, Betsy. (2005, February 21). Court rules school finance system unconstitutional. (Focus report, no. 79-6) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H 816SEF NO.79-6)

This report outlines the principal findings and conclusions in the State District Court decision that found the state's school finance system unconstitutional.

Blair, Betsy. (2004, April 7). School finance litigation update. Interim news, no. 78-4) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816I)

The cost of underpaying Texas teachers. (Special report, December 2004) Austin, Tex.: Texas Comptroller.

"To ensure the state’s economic stability, Texas must recruit, reward and retain a stable pool of highly qualified and experienced teachers that are fully certified in their subjects and prepared to spend their careers teaching. Today, nearly 37,000 Texas teachers leave the classroom each year for other professions or to retire. Growth in the state’s school-aged population demands another 5,000 new teachers each year, and at present that goal is not being met."

The cost of underpaying Texas teachers. Updated. (Special report, March 2006) Austin, Tex.: Texas Comptroller.

Dewhurst, David. (2005, January 12). Texas children first: public school excellence and school finance reform: outline for Senate Bill 2. [Lt. Gov. Dewhurst's proposal to improve public education]

Dworaczyk, Kellie. (2004, March 5). Betting on video lottery terminals to raise revenue. (Focus report, no. 78-14) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.78-14)

Goodson, John J. (1999, November 2). The dropout data debate. (Focus report, no. 76-17) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.76-17)

______. (1999, June 4). Summary of SB 4: school finance and property tax relief. (Focus report, no. 76-13) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.76-13)

Graves, Patrick K. (2002, August 5). Property tax appraisal: issues and responses. (Focus report, no. 77-23) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.77-23)

______. (2003, February 26). Revamping state taxes: options and implications. (Focus report, no. 78-8) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.78-8)

Gronberg, Timothy J.; Jansen, Dennis W.; Taylor, Lori L.; & Booker, Kevin. School outcomes and school costs: the cost function approach. (from The Texas School Finance Project, now part of the Bush School of Government & Public Service, Texas A&M University)

______. (2005 March) School outcomes and school costs: a technical supplement

Heyburn, Kevin. (1995, May 1). School finance issues remain after ruling. (Session focus, no. 74-12, May 1, 1995) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.74-12)

Imazeki, Jennifer & Reschovsky, Andrew. (2005). Does No Child Left Behind place a fiscal burden on the states?: evidence from Texas. San Diego, CA: Dept. of Economics, San Diego State University ; Madison, WI: Robert M. LaFollette School of Public Affairs: University of Wisconsin-Madison. (Electronic Resource (online only)): LB2825 .I63 2005 (electronic book))

Jepson, Dana. (2003, January 16). Debt for school facilities: trends and issues. (Focus report, no. 78-3) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.78-3)

______. (2004, March 31). Formula adjustments and the school finance system. (Focus report, no. 78-15) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.78-15)

______. (2001, February 23). Teacher health insurance: the multibillion dollar question. (Focus report, no. 77-7) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.77-7)

Lavine, Dick. (1994). Texas taxes: an overview. (State finance report‚ no. 73-5) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816F NO.73-5)

Major issues of the 79th legislature, regular session and first and second called sessions. (Focus report, no. 79-11) (November 9, 2005) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.79-11)

Mt. Joy, Greg. (2004 March). Pick your poison: Texans face dynamic duo of taxes: sales vs. property. Fiscal notes. Austin, Tex.: Office of Planning & Research, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. (Texas Documents: C2600.6 F52)

Saving summer: lessons learned. (Special report, September 2004) Austin, Tex.: Texas Comptroller. [Spanish version]

"Over the last fifty years, additional student holidays have artificially stretched the school year by more than two weeks, from early to mid-August to late May or early June, at a cost to Texans of $790 million annually. The academic benefits of stretching the instructional year have not been proven, but the economic and societal costs are known. Each extra holiday that school districts add to school calendars is potentially costing parents, teachers, students and businesses $67.8 million per day, statewide; each extra calendar week has a price tag of $395 million."

Schools and taxes: a summary of legislation of the 2006 special session. (Focus report, no. 79-13) (May 25, 2006) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives.

Soika, Kelly. (2002, May 29). Taking stock of school finance legislation. (Interim news, no. 77-8) Austin, Tex.: House Research Organization, Texas House of Representatives. (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816I)

Taylor, Lori L. Adjusting for geographic variations in teacher compensation: updating the Texas cost-of-education index. (from The Texas School Finance Project, now part of the Bush School of Government & Public Service, Texas A&M University)

______. (2005 April). Adjusting for geographic variations in teacher compensation: updating the Texas cost-of-education index. Technical supplement.

Taylor, Lori L., et al. (2005 April). Meeting needs? A survey of school facilities in the state of Texas. (from The Texas School Finance Project, now part of the Bush School of Government & Public Service, Texas A&M University)

Texas Association of School Boards. (2004 January). A cost analysis for Texas public schools. Austin, Tex.: Texas Association of School Administrators.

______. (2006 February). A cost analysis for Texas public schools. Austin, Tex.: Texas Association of School Administrators.

______. (2002 September). Report on school district mandates. Austin, Tex.: Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards.

______. (2004 January). The Texas education dollar: where does it go? Austin, Tex.: Texas Association of School Administrators.

______. (2006 February). Tracking the Texas education dollar. Austin, Tex.: Texas Association of School Administrators.

Texas. Comptroller's Office. (1996). Disturbing the peace: the challenge of change in Texas government : a report from the Texas Performance Review. (Comptroller of Public Accounts tax publications ; publication #96-456) Austin, Tex.: Comptroller of Public Accounts. (Texas Documents: C2600.8 D633P 1996)

______. (2000). E-Texas: education, excellence, efficiency, effectiveness: smaller, smarter, faster government : recommendations of the Texas Comptroller. Austin, Tex.: Comptroller of Public Accounts. (Texas Documents: C2600.8 SM18 2000)

______. (2003). Limited government, unlimited opportunity: recommendations of the Texas Comptroller. Austin, Tex.: The Comptroller. (Texas Documents: C2600.8 L629 2003) 

Partial Table of Contents: Raise the bar on student performance -- Improve educational efficiency.

Texas. E-Texas Commission. (2000). Report of the E-Texas Commission: education, excellence, efficiency, effectiveness. Austin, Tex.: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. (Texas Documents: C2600.8 E27 2000)

Texas. Legislative Budget Board. (2000 December). Dropout study: a report to the 77th Texas Legislature. Austin, Tex.: The Board. (Texas Documents: L1300.8 D837 2000)

______. (2001). Financing public education in Texas: kindergarten through grade 12 legislative primer. 3rd ed. Austin, Tex.: The Board. (Texas Documents Online Resource (online only): L1300.8 F49 2001 (Electronic resource))

Texas. Legislature. Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance. (2002 December). Report to the 78th Legislature: Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance. (Interim report, Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance.) Austin, Tex.: The Committee. (Texas Documents Online Resource (online only): L1836.78 JO64PU 2002 (Electronic resource))

______. (2004 March). Report to the Legislature: Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance  (Final interim report, Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance) Austin, Tex.: The Committee. (Texas Documents Online Resource (online only): L1836.78 JO64PU 2004 (Electronic resource))

Texas. Legislature. Senate. Finance Committee. (2002 December). Senate Finance Committee interim report on Texas taxes. Austin, Tex.: The Committee. (Texas Documents Online Resource (online only): L1836.78 SE55FTT 2002 (Electronic resource))

  • Property tax: pp. 116-122
  • Texas' local tax system, including school districts: pp. 130-148

Texas School Performance Review. (2003). Balancing the budget: 101 ideas for cutting costs and maximizing revenues. (Publication #96-992) Austin, Tex.: The Review, Texas Comptroller. (Texas Documents: C2600.8 B182B)

______. (2002). Banks to bonds: a practical path to sound school district investing : innovative solutions to help address the issues and challenges facing most public school districts. (Publication #96-775) Austin, Tex.: The Review, Texas Comptroller. (Texas Documents: C2600.8 B226 2002)

______. (2003). Driving more of every education dollar into the classroom. (Publication #96-666) Austin, Tex.: The Review, Texas Comptroller. (Texas Documents: C2600.8 D833 2003 REV.)

______. (2003). Educating students in the 21st century: K-16 and beyond. (Publication #96-1002) Austin, Tex.: The Review, Texas Comptroller. (Texas Documents: C2600.8 ED83)

Texas Tax Reform Commission. (2006). Tax fairness: property tax relief for Texans. Austin, Tex.: Texas Tax Reform Commission.

Weintraub, Sharon Hope. (2003). School days and legal maze: constitutional challenges to public school finance in Texas. Austin, Tex.: Senate Research Center. (Texas Documents Online Resource (online only): L1803.8 SCH65 2003 (Electronic resource))

Zodrow, George R. An economic evaluation of alternative sources of tax revenue for the state of Texas. (from The Texas School Finance Project, now part of the Bush School of Government & Public Service, Texas A&M University)

back.jpg Return to Top


Facts & Figures on Education, School Finance, and Taxes

Education

Academic Excellence Indicator System (for campus, district, region, and state level information) (Texas Education Agency)

Accountability Rating System for Texas Public Schools and Districts (Texas Education Agency)

  • Access accountability ratings for Texas public schools and districts for 1994-2007
  • No new ratings were assigned in 2003

2004 Accountability manual (Texas Education Agency)

2003 Accountability Plan (Texas Education Agency) -- provides the transition from TAAS to TAKS [PDF] (Texas Documents: E500.8 AC27P 2002)

Snapshot: school district profiles (1994/1995-   ) (Texas Education Agency)

  • Includes district-level demographic information about students and staff; financial information about school district budgets, property values, and state financial assistance; and student performance on state administered assessment instruments and college admission tests.
  • Texas Documents: E500.8 SN14 -- back issues also available: 1989/1990-2001/2002

School Finance and Taxes

Additional property tax information is available on the "Local Property Taxes" page of the Comptroller's web site.

2002 property tax rates by county (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)

Annual property tax report: Tax year 2005. Austin, Tex.: Comptroller of Public Accounts. (Texas Documents: C2625.3 AN78P -- back issues also available: 1991-1993, 1995-2004)

Chapter 41 wealth equalization information (from the TEA School Finance Website)

Fiscal size-up (Legislative Budget Board) (Texas Documents: L1300.6 F52) 

Revenues for Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, by State, 2002-2003 (World almanac & book of facts, 2004)  [Retrieved via Academic Search Premier. Can also be retrieved in "World Almanac" (FirstSearch). Available to ASU-affiliated patrons]  [Available in paper: Ref. Desk AY67 .N5 W7 2004]

Revenue for Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, by State, 2004-2005 (World almanac & book of facts, 2006) [Retrieved via Academic Search Premier. Can also be retrieved in "World Almanac" (FirstSearch). Available to ASU-affiliated patrons]  [Available in paper: Ref. Desk AY67 .N5 W7 2006]

School & appraisal districts' property value study. 2005 final report. (Texas Documents: C2625.8 P945VF 2005 -- back issues also available: 1994-1999, 2001-2005)

School & appraisal districts' property value study: 2006 preliminary findings. (CADs and School Districts by CAD)

back.jpg Return to Top


Library of Congress Subject Headings to Use in RamCat

back.jpg Return to Top


FDLP and Texas Depository logos Government Documents Home  |  Texas Home
Last revised: March 2007, by Janetta Paschal, Government Documents/Reference Librarian