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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Bryan-College Station Regional participants announced
Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 27, 2024

For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Robin Hood’ plan needs replacement

Last year, the Texas Legislature decided it would do away with the “Robin Hood” plan for funding Texas public schools. However, it failed to create a replacement plan due to partisan bickering and posturing. It appears that this failure may force Gov. Rick Perry to call a special session of the Legislature this year to deal with this problem of school funding. Texas taxpayers and students deserve a workable plan to replace Robin Hood, but the way things are looking, more of the strife that dominated the Legislature in the past year is still to come, and little will likely be done.
Last year, legislative special sessions were the rage, with two being called to deal with redistricting. But in the fuss, important fiscal issues such as school finance were neglected. The only thing that was a priority in this area was to abolish the old plan, which was done by passing a law that would eventually repeal the current Robin Hood plan.
This seems odd, however, when compared to the vocal tendencies of the state’s top politicians on other matters. The only major elected official who even ventured to propose a plan was Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. He told the Amarillo Globe News he wished to end local school taxes and replace them with a lower state property tax and increased taxes of services such as “alcohol or insurance.” But other state leaders are relatively quiet on the issue.
House Speaker Tom Craddick, apparently eager to leave his mark on the state and redraw its congressional boundaries, did not even bring Dewhurst’s plan up for a vote in the House, according to The Houston Chronicle. He has been relatively quiet on the issue, as has the usually-vociferous state Comptroller Carol Keeton-Strayhorn. Legislative Democrats have also been relatively quiet, except to complain about the repeal of the old plan.
Although Perry has comments about the issue of public schools in Texas, they rarely have to do with funding. He recently appointed a new state education commissioner, Shirley Neely. She was formerly with Galena Park ISD and, in a Houston Chronicle column, she said, “We must never, ever accept failure, mediocrity, the status quo or excuses (in the schools).” She needs to send that message to her boss, Perry, about funding for those schools.
But the appointment of Neely is just part of Perry’s recent kick on “educational excellence.” In an article in The Chronicle, Perry proposed three cash incentives for achievement. In total, he proposed $500 million in incentives, according to the article. The governor made no mention of where that money will come from.
Perry also opposed discussing new taxes in the article. But he cannot keep his head in the sand forever. Texas school districts have already begun to mobilize on a lawsuit over school funding, however. Although Perry wants to fund the schools at acceptable levels, this seems in conflict with his desire of excellence.
At least this time, unlike the last battle over the issue in 1993, the Legislature is not operating under the threat of a court order. It has the time to make a proper plan that should see the schools for the long run. Although Dewhurst’s plan may not be perfect, it at least recognizes the fact that the state will have to raise more money somehow to pay for schools. Perry, Craddick and the Democrats should drop the election shtick and own up to the fact that the state faces a serious funding problem in its schools, and the only way to fix it may be to restructure state taxes. Texas’ future may depend on it.

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