With our present financial situation in mind, there is little hope that the inadequacies and inequities of our current funding system will be addressed in the upcoming session of the Legislature.
Given the financial bind in which the Texas Legislature is in, here are two no-cost wishes that could dramatically and positively impact the fiscal position of all ISD’s.
First, I wish that the Texas Legislature would ask the federal government to fulfill a promise it made to the American people in 1975. The promise was to “pay 40 percent of each state’s ‘excess cost’ of educating children with disabilities.” For the 2008 fiscal year, the national average per pupil funding was 17.2%. Fulfillment of that promise would mean millions of dollars of additional federal funding for Texas and its ISD’s.
Second, I wish the Texas Legislature would fully fund all of its mandates for education. In other words, no unfunded mandates. These mandates show up at local districts’ doorsteps forcing ISD’s to spend already scarce dollars on state priorities. If a state mandate is not fully funded at the state level, then do not pass it.
Those are two wishes – no-cost wishes – for the Texas Legislature that would dramatically and positively impact the fiscal status of all ISD’s.