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Special Session for School Finance

By: Amanda Humes
By: Amanda Humes

It's back to the drawing board for Texas lawmakers. Governor Perry orders a special session after rejecting a $35.3 billion public school budget. Perry wants the House and Senate to solve the school finance dilemma, while lowering property taxes and increasing school funding.

Many Texas lawmakers aren't too thrilled about having to head back to Austin Tuesday for a special session to resolve the school finance issue.

Senator Steve Ogden and Representative Fred Brown say they're both still optimistic that the problems can be solved this time around.

The task ahead of Texas lawmakers sounds cut and dry. Lower property taxes, while at the same time increase funding for public schools.

But Senator Steve Ogden says legislators are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Some taxes will have to increase, but which ones have lawmakers deadlocked.

"It becomes difficult because to a certain extent, they're incompatible. I mean if you're going to lower taxes, how do you improve the schools without increasing the funding and if you want to increase funding, how do you lower taxes?," said Ogden

Ogden says he hopes the special session will bring a chance for voters to decide on tough issues like a state sales tax.

State Representative Fred Brown says he would like to change the proposed amount that property taxes should be lowered.

"In the past, the emphasis has been on reducing the property tax be a third. Personally I think we're looking at that wrong. Maybe we need to reduce the taxes less," said Brown.

College Station Superintendent, Steve Johnson, hopes the session won't just center around lowering property taxes, but rather improving the quality of education in Texas while increasing the funding.

" I don't know that that's been the driving force, to put a large amount of new monies in the public school. I think the driving force has been how do we lower property taxes," said Johnson.

Johnson also says the delays have hindered school districts from taking care of business before the start of school in August.

While Ogden and Brown were confident school finance would be resolved in the regular legislative session, they're just as confident the house and senate will be able to resolve the issue this time around.


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