Waco city and education leaders were in the KWTX studios Tuesday evening to explain how your property taxes are currently used to fund our schools.
Property taxes provide funds for counties, cities, community colleges and local school districts.
And schools get the largest share of the property taxes you pay.
The size of your bill depends on the appraised value of your home, less any exemptions for which you’re eligible—and on the tax rates set by the city, county, community college and school district.
Let’s say you own a 100-thousand dollar home. Your total property taxes may add up to about 16-hundred dollars and half of that, or 800 dollars, goes to your local school district.
That money is combined with money from the state, and a much smaller amount from the federal government, to educate our children.
Educators say the amount the state contributes is dropping.
In 2008, state funds made up nearly 50 percent of a local school district’s budget.
This year it’s about 42 percent, and by next year, it’s projected to drop to 38 percent.
The Texas Constitution requires the Legislature to “establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”
But just exactly what constitutes a “suitable provision” isn’t clear.
Texas has the sixth highest property taxes in the U.S. according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation, but ranks 38th in per-student spending.
Local districts have challenged the funding system, and the Texas Supreme Court has twice upheld it, most recently in May 2016, ruling that the system is undeniably imperfect with immense room for improvement, but just good enough to meet minimum constitutional requirements.
Recent poll results show that most Texans think the state should contribute its fair share—50 percent or more—to public education.