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School Finance Debated

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The League of Women Voters-Comal Area and the New Braunfels Public Library invite the public to a presentation, “School Finance: Working Well?” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, at New Braunfels Public Library, 700 E. Common St., New Braunfels.

Chandra Villanueva, Policy Analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP), will present an overview of current financing of public schools in Texas, and possible alternatives under consideration during the Texas 85th Legislative Session, which opened Jan. 10.

“The forecast is for many legislative debates in Austin over school choice and property tax relief,” predicts Roxanna Deane, president of LWV-Comal Area. “We are inviting the public to get the facts about the impacts of these possible changes before deciding where they stand on the issues.”

Villanueva will explain the current role of property taxes in the school finance system and the impact of Homestead Exemptions on local school property tax collections. She will also describe the role of the Foundation School Program and the recapture process known as “Robin Hood” funding.

Looking at prospective bills in the upcoming legislative session, Villanueva will examine funding school choice through educational savings accounts and the possible impacts of the tax-credit scholarship.

Deane says she’ll also compare the pros and cons of school choice for private schools, charter schools, and home schools.

“We are pleased to bring Ms. Villanueva to our community for this forum,” Deane says. “CPPP has been analyzing the school finance system in Texas for decades, with a view to improve equity in funding for all students. Some people have concerns about property tax rates, other people have concerns about the possible use of public funding for private education. Villanueva will be addressing all of these concerns.

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