The Texas Tribune is reporting that thanks to a new school finance law, House Bill 21, Texas charter schools will get funding for leasing and maintaining buildings and other facilities. $60 million will be allocated to charter schools that meet state standards, divided up according to the number of students.
The new measure brings financing of charter schools in line with that of traditional public schools. Public schools finance their facilities through bond issues that are gradually repaid by local taxes. The state of Texas helps with that repayment with money appropriated by measures passed in the 1990s. Money for instruction comes from a different source of funds.
Charter schools, until this year, have had to maintain their facilities from the same money that was appropriated for instruction, putting a squeeze on their funding. That is because, unlike public school districts, charter schools do not collect their own taxes.
Jake Posey, managing shareholder of The Posey Law Firm, PC explains that while the same bill increased funding for facility maintenance of public schools by the same amount as for charter schools, some education advocates are not pleased. Opponents of charter schools and other school choice programs have long argued that such initiatives drain money from public schools, some of which are struggling. The passage of a bill providing a dedicated source of funding for charter school facility maintenance is just another example of this phenomenon, in their view.
On the other hand, supporters of the Texas charter school system, which is publicly funded but privately operated, maintain that the new measure helps to ensure the success of charter schools which they believe provide a superior education for school students.
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