Ogden Not Giving Up on School Finance

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

Only 14 days remaining for Texas lawmakers to come up with a solution for school finance. But Friday, the debate shifted from finding an answer to whether or not the special session should even continue.

Texas lawmakers are being urged by House Speaker Tom Craddick to end the debate on school finance and leave it up to the courts to decide.

Senator Steve Ogden understands the disappointment, but says he's not ready to give up.

"I understand his frustration, but I think its formed to my nature to give up half way through a special session and I think Texans deserve better than for legislatures should say you elected us and we just gave up," says Senator Ogden.

The Texas Supreme Court is expected to rule on an appeal to that the current state school funding system is unconstitutional.

Craddick believes Texas leaders should wait to review the ruling before meeting again.

"There's a lot of moving parts cause one is what Texas Supreme Court is gonna say, is the House really gonna give up, and what Senates response at the end of the day, we don't answer the question," says Senator Ogden.

Senator Ogden would like to give voters a direct say in school finance reform and would like to cut property taxes while raising state taxes to replace that revenue. But tax proposals must start in the House, which has yet to be accomplished.

"Big picture is comprehensive overhaul of school finance, increase teacher pay, pay for text books, put a couple constitutional amendments on the ballot to allow voters to way in on how we pay for schools for our future," says Senator Ogden.

Ogden says everybody supports more money for schools and cutting property taxes but most voters agree on one but not the other.

"At least for the current school year, I can say we haven't done any harm. We can't come home and say we made it better but we certainly haven't made it worse. In some respects that may not be so bad right now," says Senator Ogden.


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