School Finance in Governor's Hands

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Legislature's answer to the state's school finance crisis now rests with Governor Rick Perry.

With two weeks left to avoid the threat of schools closing, lawmakers sent Perry a landmark tax overhaul hoping to prevent a court-imposed freeze on state money to schools.

The Legislature adjourned yesterday after a 30-day special session called in response to a Texas Supreme Court order to fix the unconstitutional system by June First.

The session was the sixth attempt in three years to address the difficult issue.

Their plan calls for a new money source for K-through-12 education, including a new business tax and an increase to the tobacco tax. That money will allow school districts to reduce school property taxes by about a third over the next two years.

The package also would implement some education reforms, including a $2,000 teacher pay raise and a uniform school start date.

Perry is expected to sign the legislation into law.

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