State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed three key pieces of legislation aimed at improving public education in West Texas. Two of the bills focus on reforming public school finance for Permian Basin schools, while the third repeals the current standardized testing system.
House Bill 1319 offers a full repeal of recapture provisions, otherwise known as "Robin Hood,” which sends a portion of funds from a so-called property wealthy district to so-called poorer districts.
Meanwhile, House Bill 1320 provides greater flexibility for mineral-abundant communities, whose property values can fall unexpectedly during an economic downturn, to fare better under the Robin Hood scheme.
"Robin Hood has been a disaster for students and taxpayers in the Permian Basin,” Landgraf said. “These legislative efforts are aimed at fixing the state’s broken policy by not punishing school districts in the oil patch.”
Additionally, Landgraf filed House Bill 1321, which seeks to eliminate current testing systems, like the STAAR test, from being used as high-stakes, one-sized-fits-all substitutes for real accountability measures.
"In my view, we should value teaching over testing,” Landgraf said. “This bill will allow us to get back to the basics of education so that Texas students are prepared for college, the workforce or the military when they graduate.”
The 85th Texas legislative session is underway and will run through May 29, 2017.