Dear old Golden Rule days – Part one
By D S Gands
Jul 15, 2003
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“This Act takes effect only if the constitutional amendment proposed by S.J.R. No. 1, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, is approved by the voters.  If that proposed constitutional amendment is not approved by the voters, this Act has no effect.” 

The above is the last paragraph in Senate Bill 2, authored by Florence Shapiro, Senate District 8 (Collin County), and relates to School Finance Reform and TAXES.  It would be prudent for all who are taxed for education, have a child in the Texas Educational system, or have an interest in the public school system of Texas to read this bill in its entirety.  In short, all of us. 

Granted, some of it is difficult to follow, but it would be worth your time to download it – print it – read it – and mark it up with any questions or concerns that you may have.  This legislation will be the center of attention in the SECOND SPECIAL SESSION of the 78th Legislature, which is being considered for late this year or early next spring.  Our children are going back to school soon, and we need to prepare for this legislation.   

When I decided to take a look at this with a magnifying glass, I ran a bit of research and discovered that Texas school finance reform is considered by many, a never ending story.  There are many studies that have been undertaken regarding school finance across the nation. There were also, the sad realizations that many of our school children are suffering because districts cannot afford many essentials for a quality education for their students.  Upon first glance, this proposal by Senator Shapiro seems to offer quality remedies for property tax relief AND equality in education. 

Senator Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, offers a press release on May 2, 2003, which outlines the basics of the bill as an answer to property tax relief and school finance reform.  His press release page is:  

In speaking with a few North Texas teachers, I learned that many of them spend a great deal of their own funds to support their classrooms.  Budgets for supplies are tight, and most of our teachers want to provide the very best experience for our youth.  In some cases, parents and concerned community residents are providing much needed volunteer services and supplies for their districts.  Others are utilizing the vast library of materials offered through their respective County Extension Offices, who all offer a 4-H Curriculum Enrichment Program supported by Texas A&M and several national 4-H entities.  These programs are TEKS/TAKS rated in most cases, parallel the school curriculum, and can be individually tailored to meet the needs of a specific classroom, group, age, grade, or entire student body.

In a continuing series covering the next two weeks, this column will be dedicated to School Finance Reform, educational issues, and questions and answers (if possible) to all interested parties who would care to write to us at North Texas e-News. From the Edgewood case, ‘Robin Hood’ perspectives, to vouchers, we will attempt to bring you an informative overview of what will be the banter for School Finance Reform in the Second Special Session of the 78th Legislature.

If possible, we will find any charitable organizations that assist with supplies for schools, supply donation concepts around the State, learn about volunteer training and other possible avenues of assistance, and hope to inform the North Texas community about any resource that may be available on the subject.  Please feel free to send us your questions and concerns so that we can research any issues you would like to have us cover in this series.  All submissions will be considered, and we will attempt to include all appropriate requests. 

Send us your ideas and what your school is doing to support a quality experience for the children in your district, and let us know your perspectives on this legislative/constitutional amendment effort.  The series will appear each Tuesday and Thursday through July 24th.  Write to D.S. Gands at North Texas e-News through Letters to the Editor or at  We look forward to your comments and suggestions!


D S Gands is a freelance writer living in North Texas.  You may contact her regarding this article at  This article does not represent the position of this publication.  The opinions are those of the author.  This article is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. If you have a legal matter or question, you should consult an attorney regarding the specific facts of your case.

© D.S. Gands, 2003, All Rights Reserved