Educators against New Finance Plan

3-7-05 – Local educators say they are against a new bill up for debate in the Texas Legislature. House Bill Two would change how school districts in the state spend money across the state, offering an alternative to the so-called Robin Hood finance system.

In Grayson County, administrators say small, rural schools will lose some education programs because of the way the bill allocates funding.

“This bill is so detrimental to us, in particular. We want to defeat it in the house. It has zero merit,” says Dr. Henry Scott. The Denison ISD Superintendent says the bill adds money to Grayson County school systems, but the money will come with mandates that require addition spending in other areas of education.

Becky Russell, a teacher at Denison’s Terrell and Lamar Elementary School, says she is concerned about the changes the new bill will bring to her schools.

“It appears they’re giving us money when they’re actually going to be tied to mandates that will be more expensive then the money we’re getting to cover it. It sounds good, but the reality is: it’s going to cost us.”

The bill is considered a solution to the old Robin Hood program which requires richer school districts to share money with poorer schools.

Under the new plan, large districts will still have money to spend after the bill’s spending requirements are met. Educators say rural areas will not have enough funds to fulfill their specific needs.

The bill goes to a vote in the state legislature this week.