Special Session has Educators Concerned

Educators in East Texas are concerned about the five school finance related tax bills now being considered by the Texas house. Everything from a business franchise tax to a cigarette tax is being talked about as a possibility to raise more money.

Central Independent School District Superintendent Vernis Rogers said, "I don't think business taxes and sin taxes will put the kind of money we need into the system right now, because what we need is growth."

The Central superintendent has been in Austin for the past three days. He knows lawmakers only have until June 1st to come up with a solution. But, there is disagreement about whether any of the bills now under discussion can fix the problem.

Huntington Assistant Principal David Franssen said, "I don't like any, there's no new money coming in, you can't hire teachers in East Texas with these salaries."

Senator Todd Staples wants a long term solution for funding the school system. He hopes all five bills pass.

Staples said, "They are essentially all part of a package, one using a responsible amount of the budget surplus to provide property tax payer relief, another is to abolish our current franchise tax system and replace it with a more broader base lower rate franchise tax system."

There are still 23 days left in the special session. A lot could change before it ends.

Rogers said, "I know there is some tough decisions that need to be made, all I would ask that those decisions be made fair and that all the students in Texas be treated fairly. If that happens then I'll have no gripe about what comes out of Austin."