Multiple Texas senators have banded together to propose a potential solution to the challenges created by Texasâ€™ school finance system.
They are asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment authorizing a statewide property tax that would replace much of the local school property tax.
State Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, said a statewide property tax would not add to taxpayersâ€™ total burden, but it would provide for an equitable and efficient public education system, as required by the state constitution.
Texas public schools are paid for through a mix of state and local tax dollars that total almost $49 billion a year, according to the Texas Education Agency. Some have deemed the system broken in cases where per-student funding varies drastically within counties.
For example, the per-student funding in Williamson County ranges from $4,600 in the Granger district to almost $6,300 in the nearby Jarrell district.
Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said the constitutional amendment might:
Repeal a prohibition on a statewide property tax and allow the state to levy a tax of up to $1 per $100 of assessed property value.
Allow local school districts to levy a property tax of up to 20 cents per $100 of assessed property value for â€œenrichmentâ€ purposes.
Eliminate the so-called Robin Hood system that requires property-wealthy school districts to contribute to the funding of poorer districts.
Set a lower limit on how much residential property values can increase each year. The limit is now 10 percent.