Prop 6 Would Change Texas Constitution on School Funds

Monday, October 31, 2011 - 9:47am

Texas lawmakers passed a budget this year that cut $4 billion dollars from K-12 public education. As negotiations on those cuts came to a boil during the legislative session, there were also efforts to figure out how to squeeze additional money out of other funds to help cushion the budget blow. That's where state Rep. Rob Orr, R-Burleson, and a few other lawmakers came in with what became Proposition 6.

Orr said it was needed because the state's school land trust fund, which includes oil and gas revenues, had ballooned while payments to public schools had not.

"That fund had grown to over two and a half billion dollars in cash. But very little of it was getting directly to education," Orr said, "so this was a way for the General Land Office to make a direct deposit to the available school fund."
If passed, the constitutional amendment would allow the land commissioner to send no more than $300 million each year to spend in the state's public education budget. The measure passed the House and Senate unanimously, but some have worried it would allow the land commissioner to transfer more than the fund generated. That could weaken the fund and limit its ability to keep up with inflation.

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