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Educational Excellence and Property Tax Relief: 78th Texas Legislature, Fourth Called Special Session

On April 13, 2004, Gov. Rick Perry called state legislators back to Austin for a fourth special session on educational excellence and property tax relief (text of the press release). He promoted his plan while in Corpus Christi, outlining the highlights of the school finance portion of the plan. In a hand-delivered letter to the governor that same day, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn called for him to open the session to the issue of restoring full and complete funding to the Children's Health Insurance Program. The governor responded with a short statement in response to her request.

And so it began ... April 20.

On May 17 the House and the Senate adjourned sine die, ending the 4th called special session. (Read Senate Adjourns 4th Special Session for additional information.) Video of the May 17 press conference with House Speaker Tom Craddick, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and Gov. Rick Perry is available on both the House web site and the Senate web site (in the video archive collection).


Quick Links:  The Starting Point Office of the Governor  |  Texas House and Senate Web Sites  |  Legislation  |  Legislative Committee Interim Reports (77th & 78th Legislatures)  |  Facts & Figures  |  Recent Reports (77th & 78th Legislatures)  |  The Past is Prologue: Reports From Earlier Legislative Sessions  |  Opposing Viewpoints (from non-governmental entities)  |  Selected Articles


The Starting Point

Office of the Governor (home)

Texas House and Senate Web Sites

Legislation

Legislative Committee Interim Reports (77th & 78th Legislatures)

Education

Senate Committee on Education. Report to the 78th Legislature. (November 2002)  [PDF]

  • Charge One concerns the Texas accountability system and covers the transition period from TAAS to TAKS

School Finance and Taxes

Report to the 78th Legislature  (Interim report, Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance. December 2002) [PDF]

Report to the Legislature  (Final interim report, Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance. March 2004) [PDF]

Senate Finance Committee interim report on Texas taxes (December 2002) [PDF]

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

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Facts & Figures

Education

2002-2003 Academic Excellence Indicator System Campus Reports  (for campus, district, region, and state level information) (Texas Education Agency)

2003 accountability plan (Texas Education Agency) [PDF] (Texas Documents: E500.8 AC27P 2002)

  • Provides the transition from TAAS to TAKS

Accountability rating system (Texas Education Agency)

  • Access accountability ratings for Texas public schools and districts for 1994-2002

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 2002  (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)

  • Texas Documents: C2625.3 AN78P 2002 -- back issues also available: 1991-1993, 1995-2002

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

Financing public education in Texas kindergarten through grade 12: legislative primer. 3rd ed. (October 2001) (Legislative Budget Board) [PDF]

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 be retrieved in "World Almanac" (FirstSearch). Available to ASU-affiliated patrons]  [Available in paper: Ref. Desk AY67 .N5 W7 2004]

School & appraisal districts' property value study. Final report (2002) (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts) [PDF]

  • Texas Documents: C2625.8 P945VF 2002 -- back issues also available: 1994-1999, 2001-2002

School & appraisal districts' property value study: 2003 preliminary report  (State totals and CADs and School districts by CAD)  (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)

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Recent Reports (77th & 78th Legislatures)

Education

Adjusting for geographic variations in teacher compensation: updating the Texas cost-of-education index  (from The Texas School Finance Project)

Measuring educational adequacy in public schools  (The Texas School Finance Project)

Texas. Legislative Budget Board. Dropout study: a report to the 77th Texas Legislature. (December 2000)  [PDF] (Texas Documents: L1300.8 D837 2000)

School Finance and Taxes

An economic evaluation of alternative sources of tax revenue for the state of Texas (from The Texas School Finance Project) [PDF]

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

Graves, Patrick K. Revamping state taxes: options and implications. (Focus report, no. 78-8, February 26, 2003)  (Texas House of Representatives. House Research Organization) [PDF] (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.78-8)

"Pick your poison: Texans face dynamic duo of taxes: sales vs. property" (Fiscal notes, March 2004) (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts) (not yet available in paper in Texas Documents)

"School finance litigation update" (Interim news, April 7, 2004, no. 78-4)  (Texas House of Representatives. House Research Organization)

School outcomes and school costs: the cost function approach (from The Texas School Finance Project)

"Taking stock of school finance legislation" (Interim news, May 29, 2002, no. 77-8)  (Texas House of Representatives. House Research Organization)

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The Past is Prologue: Reports from Earlier Legislative Sessions

Education

Expanding the scope of the Texas public school accountability system. (Policy research, rept. no. 9) (Texas Education Agency) [PDF]  (Texas Documents: E500.7 P758 NO.9)

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

Goodson, John J. The TAAS test : how much should it count? (Focus report, no. 75-25, September 29, 1998)  (Texas House of Representatives. House Research Organization) [PDF]  (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.75-25)

Goodson, John J. Texas redefines the three Rs: the new public school curriculum. (Focus report, no. 75-19, October 7, 1997)  (Texas House of Representatives. House Research Organization) [PDF]  (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.75-19)

High school completion rates: investigating a longitudinal performance measure for Texas schools. (Policy research, rept. no. 8) (Texas Education Agency) [PDF]  (Texas Documents: E500.7 P758 NO.8)

Texas. Legislative Budget Board. Texas public school accountability: a report card on implementation of the system. (Texas Documents: L1300.8 P96 1994)

School Finance and Taxes

Alofsin, Patricia. The tax system and public school financing in Texas. (Session focus, no. 75-11, March 24, 1997)  (Texas House of Representatives. House Research Organization) [PDF]  (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.75-11)

Goodson, John J. Summary of SB 4: school finance and property tax relief. (Focus report, no. 76-13, June 4, 1999)  (Texas House of Representatives. House Research Organization)  [PDF] (Texas Documents: L1801.7 H816SEF NO.76-13)

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

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

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Opposing Viewpoints (from non-governmental entities)

Coalition to Invest in Texas Schools

  • The Coalition is devoted to keeping parents, educators, legislators and media outlets informed about the latest developments in Texas school funding.
  • School Finance Library

Equity Center

  • "[T]he only education association in Texas which exclusively represents the interests of low and mid-wealth (Tier 2) school districts, whose access to state and local funds for operations and facilities is significantly less than that enjoyed by other districts. Founded in 1982, the Equity Center is the largest research and advocacy organization of its kind in the nation."

Texas Association of Property Tax Professionals

Texas Association of School Administrators. Capitol Watch

Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute

Texas Municipal League

Texas Public Policy Foundation

  • "The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan research institute guided by the core principles of limited government, free enterprise, private property rights and individual responsibility. The Foundation seeks to improve Texas government by producing academically sound research on important issues offered to policy makers, opinion leaders, the media and general public.
  • School Finance Research Section

TTRA Research Foundation (Texas Taxpayers and Research Association)

International Association of Assessing Officers

  • Standard on property tax policy. (Approved August 1997)
  • A relevant quote from this document:

    "5.4.3 Valuation Increase Limits
    Limits that constrain changes in assessed or appraised value of property may appear to provide control, but actually distort the distribution of the property tax, destroying property tax equity and increasing public confusion and administrative complexity. Owners whose properties are increasing in value more rapidly than the permitted rate of increase (say, 5 percent) receive a windfall at the expense of those whose properties are decreasing in value or are increasing at lower rates. In effect, valuation increase limits result in lower effective property tax rates for owners of desirable property and higher effective tax rates for owners of undesirable property. Legislators and the public should be made aware of these inequities and be actively discouraged from pursuing such limitations. Any other control is preferable." (p. 19)

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Selected Articles (provided as examples of what can be found via the RamPort databases)

Burka, Paul. (2003, April) Hoodwinked [Electronic version]. Texas Monthly, 31, 8,10,12.  [ASU-affiliated patrons may retrieve this online via Academic Search Premier]  [Also available online via Wilson Select or LexisNexis]  [Available in paper in the basement]

Elliott, Janet. (April 9, 2004) Texas governor seeks to raise 'sin' taxes, cut property taxes [Electronic version]. Houston Chronicle. [Retrieved April 15, 2004, via Newspaper Source] [Available in paper in the basement]  [HTML]

Janssen, John J. (2000, Winter) Public school finance, school choice, and equal educational opportunity in Texas: the enduring importance of background conditions [Electronic version]. The Review of Litigation, 19, 1-24.  [ASU-affiliated patrons may retrieve this online via Academic Search Premier]  [Also available online via LexisNexis]

Kilday Hart, Partricia. (2004, March) Hood riddance [Electronic version] Texas Monthly, 32, 58-64,87-88.  [ASU-affiliated patrons may retrieve this online via Academic Search Premier]  [Also available online via Wilson Select or LexisNexis]  [Available in paper in "Current Issues" in the basement]

Liscano, Miguel. (2004, May 13) Texas educators worry lawmakers are rushing school finance [Electronic version] Waco Tribune-Herald [Retrieved May 22, 2004]  [Available in Newspaper Source]  [HTML]

Michaels, Dave. (2004, May 5) Residential appraisal cap plan aids rich, Dallas County official says [Electronic version]. Dallas Morning News [Retrieved May 22, 2004]  [Available in Newspaper Source] [May 5 issue available in paper in the basement]  [ HTML]

Moritz, John. (2004, May 14) School finance plan undecided [Electronic version]. Fort Worth Star-Telegram [Retrieved May 22, 2004]  [Available in Newspaper Source]  [HTML]

Editorial. Robison, Clay. (March 16, 2004) The trouble with Perry's tax relief ... Houston Chronicle  [Retrieved April 15, 2004, via Houston Chronicle web site]  [Also retrieved via Info-Trac Custom Newspapers. (Issue dated March 14, 2004, p.2) - PDF] [Available in Newspaper Source and LexisNexis]  [March 14 issue available in paper the basement]

Root, Jay. (January 25, 2004) Business tax may finance schools in Texas, despite industry group's opposition [Electronic version]. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. [Retrieved April 15, 2004, via Newspaper Source]  [Available in paper in the basement]  [HTML]

Root, Jay. (March 12, 2004) Texas governor's tax-cap plan draws mixed reviews [Electronic version]. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. [Retrieved April 15, 2004, via Newspaper Source]  [Available in paper in the basement]  [HTML]

Editorial. (May 4, 2004) Tax cuts trump: school needs slighted in special session onschools [Electronic version]. Houston Chronicle. [Retrieved May 7, 2004, via InfoTrac]  [Available in paper in the basement]  [PDF]


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Compiled: April 2004. Revised: May 2004, Janetta Paschal, Government Documents/Reference Librarian