Share Your Legislative Priorities
The 88th Legislature convenes on January 10, 2023 and Austin ISD wants your input on what the district’s legislative priorities should be. The Board of Trustees will begin discussing its priorities soon and will adopt the final priorities in the fall of 2022.
To see Austin ISD’s legislative priorities last legislative session see: Austin ISD Legislative Priorities for the 87th Legislature and Appendix to Austin ISD Legislative Priorities for the 87th Legislature.
88th Legislative Session
The Board of Trustees of the Austin Independent School District has identified our first group of priorities for the 88th Legislature, which will convene in January, 2023. The emphasis is on public school funding – an issue in which our community has expressed a deep interest. These priorities focus on funding reforms that will increase the state’s funding for all school districts and lessen the reliance on recapture dollars.
We believe that the most effective solutions for school funding begin with an increase to the basic allotment. That would both increase funds available to all districts in the state and decrease the burden of recapture. Texas ranks in the bottom ten nationally in per student funding, spending $4000 less per student than the national average, while educating about 10 percent of all K-12 students in the U.S.
The Austin ISD Board of Trustees supports the original intent of recapture as a system to more equitably fund public education across the state of Texas. The focus of our priorities surrounding recapture is not to eliminate the system, but rather to support significant reforms to a system that is now almost three decades old and no longer working as intended.
When recapture began in 1994, 34 school districts paid the state $127 million in recapture. Over time, the state has increased its reliance on local property taxes to fund public education. Today, recapture is the fourth largest revenue source for the state of Texas. In school year 2021-2022, the amount of recapture paid by the 160 recapture districts in Texas will exceed $3 billion.
Many of the 160 “property wealthy” school districts educate a majority of economically disadvantaged students. Recent property tax appraisals have bumped Austin ISD’s recapture payment to $855 million. Austin ISD educates nearly 52 percent economically disadvantaged students at schools that support more than 90 languages.
The district will work with our community to identify additional legislative priorities for adoption by the Board of Trustees in the fall of 2022.
- An increase in the basic allotment with the goal of matching the national average in per student funding by 2030.
- A requirement that all recapture dollars be spent on education, ending the practice of the state supplanting its investment in education with recapture dollars.
- Restoring the discount for early payment of recapture.
- Funding school districts on the basis of enrollment rather than attendance.
- A study that identifies the true cost of educating all students, including the cost of complying with state mandates
- Vouchers, tax credits, taxpayer savings grants, tuition reimbursements or any other programs that divert public tax dollars to private schools that are exempt from the state and federal accountability and admissions requirements applicable to public schools.
- Any unfunded mandates and infringements on local control, including measures that erode local discretionary money and measures that seek to limit school districts’ ability to have representation before the Texas Legislature and the executive branch of government.
Who Represents Me
- Representatives and contact information (PDF)
- Find your representatives, their websites and contact information
- Raise Your Hand Texas
- Texas Association of School Boards
- Texas PTA
- Texas School Coalition
- Texas Association of School Administrators
- Coalition for Public Schools
- Texans for Strong Public Schools
- Every Texan (formerly Center for Public Policy Priorities)