By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) outlined several of his goals for the upcoming 85th session of the Texas legislature during a luncheon held on South Padre Island last Friday. Lucio was the guest of honor during the quarterly public affairs luncheon which was hosted by the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce. Chief among Lucio’s concerns were education, healthcare and taxes.
Lucio began by speaking about the State’s public education funding system, calling education one his “primary focuses.” Earlier this year, the Texas Supreme Court issued a ruling upholding the State’s system as constitutional while also referring to it as ‘Byzantine’ and in need of improvement. “It does meet the legal standard set out in our state constitution, however that does not mean it meets the moral (standard)” of bringing ‘equity’ to all students, Lucio said.
The Point Isabel Independent School District (PIISD) is an apt case study for the system’s flaws, and something Lucio alluded to in his remarks. Through high property tax valuations primarily on South Padre Island, PIISD is seen by the State as a ‘rich’ school district and thus subject to Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code, or what is commonly known as the Robin Hood law. Under the law the District must remit a percentage of its property taxes back to the state for redistribution among ‘poorer’ districts. However, the vast majority of the district’s students are low-income.
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