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We would like to encourage you to watch this informative WFAA news piece, a featured Verify story released in January, on State school finance reform.
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, as well as leaders in both houses of the State legislature, have identified public school finance as a priority for the current legislative session. School finance reform should be a topic of great interest for two reasons, not only for the Town of Westlake municipality but also for Westlake residents and all Academy parents.
First, the Town operates the well-regarded Westlake Academy, a public charter school, for which it receives State public education monies to fund a large portion (but not all) of the Academy’s operating cost. State public education funding was first substantially reduced by the Legislature in 2011, further reduced and then continued through 2014. While the Legislature has increased it slightly since then, the increases have not kept up with operational costs. Charter schools like Westlake Academy are affected adversely by this just as are school districts.
The second reason comes when local school district property taxes have been increased to offset the inadequacy of State funding and are then coupled with rising property appraisals in a robust real estate market. All of these issues combine to show why property taxes are increasing. It will be important for our residents and parents to understand the potential impact of these discussions and come to their own decision on any pending legislation.
What began with the reduced amounts of State funding for public education and the pressures placed on ISD’s to increase their tax rates to fund operations has transformed into a discussion on local control of Texas cities.
Westlake Town Manager and Academy Superintendent