Email and Letter talking points

  • Below is a “menu” of talking points that you may choose to include in your emails or letters to policymakers.  However, it is important that you personalize your letter.  Please share your perspective and personal story.

    #FixSchoolFinance Talking Points

    • The state of Texas must reduce its over-reliance on local property tax dollars. When my property taxes increase, the state decreases its share of funding public education, meaning my property taxes count for less. 
    • Many of the state’s public education formulas haven’t been updated since the 1980s and 1990s.
    • The state’s share of funding public education should be at least 50%.
    • Recapture is a concern because the state defines HISD as property wealthy, despite the fact that nearly 80% of HISD’s students are economically disadvantaged.
    • This school year, Houston ISD’s recapture payment is about $274 million, which will cause more budget cuts, layoffs and fewer services for students.
    • HISD sends more to the state in recapture than it actually receives in state aid.
    • The state should work to identify new funding sources to be appropriated directly to public school districts.
    • Increase the Basic Allotment enough to keep pace with inflation and the growing needs of students;
    • Increase the state’s share of funding public education to 50%;
    • Increase the funding weights for unique populations, like special education, bilingual, English-language learners, and GT students.  Many of these weights have not been updated since 1984.
    • Count full-day pre-K students in recapture calculations for Chapter 41 (AKA Robin Hood) districts.  This would save HISD several millions in its recapture state-mandated recapture payment;
    • Allow HISD and other Chapter 41 (AKA Robin Hood) districts to receive state transportation funding;
    • Allow recapture-paying districts to count charter school students zoned to their district in recapture calculations;
    • Tie new local property value growth to the equalized wealth level.
    • Eliminate the state’s over-reliance on local property taxes to fund schools and replace those local property tax dollars with General Revenue from the state. The state must reduce its over-reliance on local property tax dollars;
    • TELL YOUR STORY! Where do your children attend school? What do your schools and teachers need?

Template Email or Letter to Lawmakers

  • SUBJECT:  MESSAGE FROM A VOTER AND CONSTITUENT – IT’S TIME TO FIX SCHOOL FINANCE

    EMAIL BODY:

    Dear (Representative/Senator),

    I am a Houston resident, taxpayer and parent ofchildren attending (school) in the Houston Independent School District. (OR IF NOT PARENT - I am a Houston resident and care deeply about the public schools in my community.)

    There is no debating that the state’s system for funding its public school districts is woefully outdated and failing our children.  As a lawmaker, I urge you to strengthen the future of the Texas economy by investing more dollars into public education.

    (INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY AND PROVIDED TALKING POINTS HERE)

    I encourage you to prioritize public education and work with colleagues across the state of Texas to fix the outdated school finance system.

    Thank you for your service to the State of Texas.

    Respectfully,

    Your Name