State and Federal Aid

State and Federal Aid

Both the Federal and the State governments play an important role in providing basic services to its people. Basic education, healthcare, security, water, and sanitation are just some of the services that each resident of a given state expects to receive from the government of the day. In return, the residents of these states pledge their allegiance to these governments and adhere to the legislations set by these governments. Taxation is established and supported by legislations; this is an important source of funding for government programs. The proposed cutbacks in the education system will be injurious to the people of Dallas. The essay that follows will propose an alternative source for generating tax dollars, which will in effect aid the running of school programs in Dallas (Thompson et al, 2012).

Three main things that determine the kind of future that Dalllas will have include the kind of government and tax system that Dallas will have, the kind of economy and the kind of education. The plans to cut full-day kindergarten will deny the children a chance to learn in a conducive environment. Parents to these children will be forced to incur extra cost of enrolling the children either in day care or in private kindergartens. An increase in class to over 30 pupils in grades 1-5 will place a strain on the teachers and dilute the quality of education. The prevailing teacher-pupil ratio will be affected and this will lower the quality of education that these young minds receive. The plans to eliminate an alternative program to prevent high school dropout will in effect cause an increase in the number of students that drop form school. All these plans are misinformed and can be avoided by instituting an alternative source of funding that will keep the district’s education system running optimally.

Instead of cutting down on education, the State should consider the important role that quality basic education plays. The provision of this education can be made sustainable by the State’s adoption of Tax structures, Economic development policies, and Funding for schools (TEF). Investment in the public education system should be at the core of any State’s development agenda. This assertion is founded on the human capital theory, which asserts that education, and training plays an integral role in both economic and social development of a society (Thompson et al, 2012).

Article 7 section 3 of the Texas constitution provides that certain taxes be levied or collected for benefitting the public education system (Brown, 2012). Evidently, these provisions are not sufficient to support the education system. This essay proposes an introduction of a property tax whose proceeds will go towards financing the public education system.

The concepts of basic schooling and adequate funding need defining. For the purpose of this paper, the term “basic schooling” is used to refer education up to the high school diploma level. Adequate funding refers to the funding that is sufficient to produce basic schooling. The main challenge attached to the understanding of these two concepts stems from the fact that it is not easy to ascertain the cost of producing the education up to the basic schooling level; however, the source of funding still needs to be equitable.

Equitable school funding lacks a universal definition. Fairness is the bedrock upon which the concept of equity is founded. Many people agree that equity and equality are not similar terms and as thus, for a funding regime can be considered fair even if it does not offer equal per pupil expenditure. An equitable funding system may see school districts with most needs getting greater funding. Equity can be measured by comparing per pupil expenditure between states, among state districts, or among the schools found in a district. By so doing, one thing stands out: there is inequality in all these levels (Thompson et al, 2012).

In order to meet the educational funding needs of the State of Dallas, the local government should consider introducing a tax that will ensure that the foundation level of funding is met. Accordingly, each school will be guaranteed a level of funding sufficient to the financing of the basic schooling program. However, the State’s foundation funding level is based on a political formula instead of an educational one. The state sets the amount of money it will allocate to the education sector from its recurrent expenditure budget. The amount allocated is often not sufficient to meet the educational needs of the State. Consequently, the state should raise the property tax rate it collects on the residents of a school district for supporting the educational programs of that particular district. The fact that these school districts have different wealth levels is reason enough for the state to impose different tax levels to ensure equity in both tax and educational development (Sykes et al, 2009).

The tax system adopted should be able to provide the needed finds to a school district throughout Dallas. This tax system should facilitate district equalization, which will entail the focusing on the state as an equalizer of the ability of school districts in Dallas to raise tax, instead of merely setting a minimum threshold of financial support that the State can provide to school districts. This idea will in effect guarantee all school districts the same revenue yield regardless of the assessed valuation.

Three types of district equalizations abound and include percentage equalization programs, guarantee tax base programs, and guaranteed tax yield programs. Percentage equalization programs require that local school districts determine the size of their budgets, which the state will pay a portion of it according to the valuation of each school district. A guaranteed tax base program guarantees a fixed amount of money that is sufficient to support the assessed cost of education per pupil. A guaranteed tax yield program on the other hand guarantees a fixed level of revenue per pupil (Ladd, & Fiske, 2008).

The property tax imposed on the residents in a state needs to abide by the tenet of equity. This feat can be achieved by using an average tax rate. This approach is achieved by matching revenue collected to specific revenue bases. The average rate is obtained by dividing the summation of all revenue collected from all the states by the total of the bases associated to these statewide revenues. This average tax rate will help in the district power equalization.

In summary, an imposition of a new form of property tax on the residents of Dallas is necessary for benefitting the education system of the State. The monies collected from this revenue source will be channelled towards supporting basic education programs that include employment of more teachers to meet the recommended pupil-teacher ratio, part of the revenue will go to establish innovative ways of dissuading high school students from dropping out of school, and part of it may also be channelled towards supporting the full-day kindergartens. All of these educational programs will ensure quality education, which will in turn yield quality human capital that will contribute towards the economic development of Dallas.

 

References

Brown, L. C. (2012). Practicing Texas politics. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Ladd, H. F., & Fiske, E. B. (2008). Handbook of research in education finance and policy. New York: Routledge.

Sykes, G., Schneider, B. L., Plank, D. N., & Ford, T. G. (2009). Handbook of education policy research. New York: Routledge ;.

Thompson, D. C., Crampton, F. E., & Wood, R. C. (2012). Money and schools. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

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