The Texas Legislative Guide was designed and developed by Becca Aaronson, Emily Albracht, Daniel Craigmile, Annie Daniel, Ben Hasson and Ryan Murphy for The Texas Tribune. The Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government and other matters of statewide concern.
With the Texas Supreme Court hearing a lawsuit that more than 600 school districts have filed against the state, lawmakers were largely expected to bypass the topic of school finance as the 84th Legislature convened. But they did take up the issue, though legislation failed to pass.
The school finance case arose after lawmakers cut roughly $5.4 billion from state public education funding in 2011. A Travis County district judge ruled in the districts' favor in August, saying the way the state distributes money to districts is unconstitutional because of both inadequate and unequal funding. The state then appealed to the high court, which agreed to hear the case in January.
House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, said during the session that House leaders no longer wanted to wait for a long-needed overhaul of the system and would actively try to pass reforms.
The state budget included an extra $1.5 billion for public education, but Aycock also tried to push legislation to simplify and bring more equity to school district funding across the state,
The plan, which included an extra $800 million for public education, didn’t make it to a House vote. Aycock said it had "become abundantly clear" that Senate leaders did not intend to move the bill even if the House approved it.
Updated: May 14, 2015
- Agreeing on the budget
- Reforming contracting and procurement
- The fight over the spending cap
- Reducing property taxes
- Cutting margins taxes
- Budget fallout from school finance lawsuit
See all the topics we’re following.