Meyerland Forum On School Funding, Lawsuit

The HISD board is expected to vote this Thursday on whether to join the latest lawsuit over the way the state funds k-12 education. The suit, filed a week ago in Travis County, claims the state has created an "arbitrary, irrational, and inequitable" funding system. Hundreds of school districts around the state are expected to eventually become part of the lawsuit. A forum will be held this evening in Meyerland to explain to parents and others what it's all about.

The forum is presented by Meyerland Area Democrats Club.  The club's vice-president, C.J. Yeoman, says the purpose is to explain the state's public education financing system in a way that does not require an economics degree to understand.

"Why it was set up this way.  Why the funding dynamics changed back in 2006.  And then why, because of those dynamics, why do we have this huge gap in what they said was going to be there, and what was actually there."

In 2006, state lawmakers approved a new school funding plan that lowered property taxes, in exchange for a new business tax.  But that business tax hasn't made up for about $2 billion lost per year in property tax revenue.   Yeoman says that, and other structural problems, have lead to serious inequities in school funding.

"The courts have already said numerous times you have to equalize funding across the state for all of our students, because we don't have different requirements for students in different areas.  I mean, we have a TAKS test that goes across the state."

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Tonight's forum on school finance and the related lawsuit begins at 7 at Johnston Middle School in 10400 block of Manhattan in Meyerland.

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