The number one priority: why lawmakers expect school finance reform

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – This is the season when we hear Texas lawmakers make claims that they will finally make reforms to the state’s school finance system.

It’s easy to be skeptical about those plans. They’ve tried for several sessions to pass reforms, and failed. But this year, state leaders swear it’s going to happen.

“The agenda for this session will be public education, public education, public education,” said Representative-elect Sheryl Cole (D-Austin). She said she met with Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) who will likely be the next Speaker of the Texas House. Cole said Bonnen emphasized that school finance will be a top priority.

Lawmakers also point to a new report from the Texas School Finance Commission, a blue ribbon group of Texans tasked with presenting solutions.

This week on State of Texas, politics reporter Phil Prazan interviewed the Chair of Public Education in the House, Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston) to get perspective on the proposals that came from the commission, and the battles still to come.

“We can all agree that the system is undeniably broken,” said Nicole Conley Johnson, the Chief Financial Officer for the Austin Independent School District who is also a member of the commission. “But there is wide disagreement on how to fix it,” she added.

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