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March 31, 19 72 next couple of months. The various proposals are expected to be evaluated by mid-May. Proposed legislation should be drawn up by Nov. 15. Groups like the Texas Research League, the Texas Association of School Boards, the Texas State Teachers Association, the Texas Manufacturers Association and the Texas Council of Major School Districts are all looking into various parts of the problem. The efforts of all of these groups are being coordinated by the newly-created Texas Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. THOUGH NO formal proposals have yet been formulated by any of the groups studying the issue, there are a number of ideas being thrown around, both in Texas and nationally. It is not clear yet, though, what kind of effect these proposals would have, or even whether they would satisfy the demands of the courts. The 1968 report of the Governor’s Committee on Public School Education suggested that the Economic Index be eliminated in its present form, and be replaced by an index of taxpaying ability based solely upon the market value of property. This would ease some of the problems connected with determining Local Fund Assignments. Some have suggested that the Local Fund Assignments be eliminated entirely, and that the state take over full funding of MFP. Unlimited allowances for locally-provided supplementary programs would be retained. A bill to this effect, proposed by State Sen. Wayne Connally, was defeated in the last Legislature. Some have suggested that MFP be drastically upgraded, so that a quality education could be provided without supplementary programs. This would shift the burden of funding from the local districts, which now provide about 49 percent of public school money, to the states, which now provide about 40 percent of total funding. It is doubtful, however, whether such a proposal would be judged constitutional. The Serrano ruling in California turned down just such a system. Place a ceiling on allowable supplementary appropriations. Local districts could only raise a particular sum state funds. At this time only Minnesota has such a provision. As suggested by the recently-published National Educational Finance Project, state funds could be used primarily for purposes of equalization. Every local district would tax its citizens at the same rate. Then the state would spend its funds in such a way as to equalize expenditures for all districts. This means that wealthy districts would contribute more toward education than poor districts, but all would have equal tax burdens. And the state would ensure by its funding methods that educational opportunities in each district would be essentially equal. Or, as in Hawaii, the state could take over the responsibility for the full load. Local districts would contribute nothing through local taxation, and no supplementary programs would be allowed. It is not likely, however, that the wealthy districts would stand for this. A number of proposals, usually originating in Washington, have suggested greatly increased federal participation as a means to a solution. \(At the present, federal money accounts for about 10 percent of total school expenditures in School Finance, which has just released its report after two years of study, has suggested that federal money perhaps as much as $8 billion be used as incentives to the states to take over more of the financing themselves. And some, like California’s superintendent of public instruction, Wilson Riles, have suggested that “massive federal infusions” of funds are necessary to improve the quality of education. Many object, however, that massive federal spending would loosen the local districts’ control of local schools. And the Commission on School Finance suggested also that federal funds might be distributed in accordance with a proposed “educational needs index.” This would mean that districts with low-quality education would receive more federal funds than wealthy districts. It has also been suggested that the burden on public school facilities could be eased if federal aid were granted, either directly or indirectly, to the parochial schools. This, however, is of doubtful constitutionality. MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century Building Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 Since 1866 The Place in Austin GOOD FOOD GOOD BEER 1607 San Jacinto 477-4171 BOOKS Titles listed below, and all others stocked by the Texas Observer Bookstore, are offered to Observer subscribers at a 20% discount. The Texas Observer Bookstore pays for the postage and handling. Amounts shown are the discounted prices, plus the 5% sales tax. To Order with your name, address and remittance to the Texas Observer Bookstore. 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