Ratliff speaks out on school funding system - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Ratliff speaks out on school funding system

Bill Ratliff. (Source: http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/ltgovernors/ltGovPage.cfm?ltgovID=40) Bill Ratliff. (Source: http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/ltgovernors/ltGovPage.cfm?ltgovID=40)
(KLTV) -

A former lieutenant governor is speaking out about the public school funding system he helped create.

Bill Ratliff says the plan he introduced in 1993, which redistributes funding between schools, would work if the state would adequately fund the education system.

Former Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff says 21 years ago, his colleagues wrestled with hundreds of possible plans before reaching what became known as the Robin Hood funding system for public schools.

But Ratliff says if there was another way, it would have been discovered sooner.

"The only thing wrong with the current plan is that they are not putting enough money into it. If they adequately funded the current plan, it would be constitutional and adequate," Ratliff says.

Ratliff says the essence of the system gives financially disadvantaged schools more opportunities, thus reducing the education gap.

"It didn't make the wealthier districts any better, but it certainly made hundreds and hundreds of poor school districts better."

But because of a growing wealth disparity between schools, Ratliff says that is why a judge ruled parts unconstitutional Thursday

32:35 interestingly today that disparity is closer to 2000 than it is to 500, so the disparity has grown substantially since that day.

Ratliff says his 1993 legislation has stood the test of time, but that the state has not held up its end of the deal when it comes to providing funding.

He says there's a solution.

"The solution is for the legislature to buck up and gird up and spend some of that rainy day fund or some of that largesse that they have now in Austin and give schools adequate funding," he said.

Now that the legality of public school funding has been called into question, Ratliff says there is a strong likelihood that the state supreme court will hear arguments.

But as for their decision, he says it's an open question.

Ratliff adds that if adequate funds were provided to Texas schools, that could add more teachers and, in turn, drive up student test scores.

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