Presumptive Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, calling public education “job one” in the 2009 Legislature, said Saturday that lawmakers may be able to provide what he called targeted relief to needy school districts but he ruled out the likelihood of a major overhaul of the school finance system – per an article by Dave Montgomery at the Star Telegram.
The University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas in Denton are among the Texas institutions seeking advanced status to compete with prestigious top-level research universities in other states.
“We definitely need more,” Straus said. “For an economy and population the size of Texas, first class, first-tier universities are vitally important.” His vision, he said, would include North Texas, though he didn’t single out specific institutions.
Straus said the problems facing public schools rank as a leading priority. Lawmakers passed a public school finance plan in 2006 but districts across the state, including those in North Texas, are struggling to meet rising costs. Per-student funding varies widely from district to district.