Legislative Hearing on School Funding

A legislative committee held a hearing in Houston today in its search for solutions to the state’s public school funding problems, and also, gather input on what should be done to improve funding for state-supported colleges and universities. Jim Bell reports.

The House Select Committee on Higher and Public School Finance was appointed last year to hold hearings around the state, to find out what higher and public education officials want in the way of financing reform. Houston School Superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra says the “Share the Wealth” school funding system known as “Robin Hood”, and recent temporary fixes, aren’t working.

“And so I will suggest to them that they look at the finance system, and make some suggestions concerning unequal appraisals, concerning target revenues. We’re hoping that our input today will encourage them to make some changes in these areas.”

On the higher education front, University of Houston President Dr. Renu Khator says it’s time for UH to become a tier-one school, on the same level as the state’s two flagship schools, UT and A&M. Khator says the four campus UH system is a major research school and a major contributor to the state’s economy.

“University of Houston is making three point one billion dollars of annual impact on the economy of this region. Having a university that is a top tier nationally competitive university, it would multiply, and I think that’s what they should look at.”

The select committee has been holding hearings all over the state since last year, and has several more hearings scheduled for later this year before making its report to the legislative session in January.

Jim Bell. KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.