Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and State Representative Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) have once again filed legislation aimed at addressing the arbitrary small school adjustment formula in our state's school finance system. Senate Bill 678 and House Bill 1390 will help create a level playing field for small districts that are expected to provide the same quality education as their larger counterparts.
"It is my mission to help provide a quality education for every student in this state, no matter the size of the school district," Ashby said. "I believe a change to the small school adjustment formula would represent a step in the right direction and address some of the current inequities in the system."
Currently, the law states that districts covering under 300 square miles receive fewer state funds than districts with an equal number of students, spanning more than 300 square miles. This arbitrary mileage designation in the school finance system puts hundreds of school districts at a financial disadvantage and this bill would help remedy the issue.
"I believe it is unfair for a small school to be penalized and funded differently based on the size of their school district," said Nichols. "Creating an equal multiplier in the formula across the board will provide many schools with additional funding, which will go a long way in helping to improve the education of our students."
The small school adjustment was originally intended to encourage school districts to consolidate. However, as a school is often the heart of a community and a vital part of the economy, many districts have chosen not to consolidate. This legislation would allow communities the option of maintaining local governance of their school board without having to work around a punitive formula.
Representative Ashby is beginning his third term as a member of the Texas House of Representatives. Currently, Ashby serves as the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for public and higher education funding, the Vice-Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, which deals with water issues across Texas, and as a member of House Administration Committee. Trent lives in Lufkin with his family and is the Angelina County Chairman of Citizens National Bank.
Senator Nichols is beginning his sixth session as a member of the Texas Senate. He currently serves as Chairman of the Transportation Committee, and serves as a member of the Finance, Business and Commerce, and Administration Committees. The Senator lives in Jacksonville with his wife.