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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Texas Public School Finance: Can Equity be Achieved?

Every child deserves a quality education and must be given an equal opportunity to achieve this goal. Public school finance is an important part of reaching this goal, and when inequities exist in the finance system that favor advantaged students, equal educational opportunity is not present. Standards must be set, student achievement must be measured, effective programs must be identified, and adequate funds must be available to support these programs.

Adequate revenue for school districts will require the current funding mechanism to be restructured. Options under consideration include: (1) implementing a personal income tax, (2) having a statewide property tax, (3) consolidating districts into one school district completely funded by the state, (4) increasing the sales tax, and (5) imposing a value-added or gross-receipts tax. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. Some are more politically feasible than others. Any finance mechanism should have a level-up approach, raising property-poor districts up to the revenue level of property-rich districts, thereby ensuring equal access to quality education programs.

--Author's foreword.