Schools could see $2.2 million if penalty is thrown out

Courtesy of The Equity Center

By BARBARA GREEN
Nothing is set in stone in the Texas Legislature. But if a pair of bills related to basic school funding pass, seven school districts in the greater Montague County area could see more than $2.2 million come back into their districts.
State Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls) introduced House Bill 1710 on Feb. 9 which would eliminate the “small district penalty.” There is a similar bill in the Senate, SB 648.
This legislation would correct a 30-year-old problem imposed on districts that are less than 300 square miles in size and have 1,600 or fewer students.

During the ensuing years, the system has changed dramatically. The original legislation adopted two formulas that recognized the additional cost to educate children in a smaller school district.
Small schools were defined as those with 1,600 or fewer students. The state established a cost-based multiplier of .0004 for those districts.
However, an additional formula was added that penalized small school districts less than 300 square miles in size by lessening their multiplier to .00025.
There was no real basis given at the time for this addition; however, many people have said it political and an attempt to get smaller schools to consolidate.

Read the full story and how the passage of these bills could impact the local schools districts in the weekend News.