On November 5, 2019, Texans will get to vote on a set of ten propositions that, if approved, would add amendments to the Texas Constitution. One item, Proposition 7, is related to education—specifically, public school funding. We have gathered some resources to help you get informed and get to the polls for the 2019 election in Texas.
Proposition 7: Available School Fund
Proposition 7 is the one proposed amendment that affects education. The ballot will ask voters to choose FOR or AGAINST “The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.”
What is the Available School Fund (ASF)? The ASF makes payments to school districts and charter schools based on student attendance. Money flows into the ASF from multiple sources, primarily the Permanent School Fund (PSF). The PSF dates back to 1876 (and even earlier to 1854’s Special School Fund), when it was established under the General Land Office (GLO) to hold Texas’s remaining public lands (including mineral rights) in trust to generate income for public schools.
The amendment would double, from $300 million to $600 million, the amount of revenue that the GLO can send to the ASF each year. In recent years, the investments in the PSF have generated enough revenue to send more than $300 million to the ASF annually, but the GLO could not go over the cap. Even if the cap is raised, the GLO does not have to send the full $600 million.
Assuming trends continue for investment returns, a vote FOR Proposition 7 would likely increase the amount of money that the GLO can move from the PSF to the ASF each year, providing more funding for public education in Texas. As the Texas Public Policy Foundation noted in its guide, increasing funding to public schools does not necessarily improve outcomes. They also note that increasing the share of state funding may lead to lower local property taxes in the future.
We encourage you to research on all the propositions before going to the polls to cast your vote. Here are some links to election guides, some of which include voting recommendations.
- The League of Women Voters offers election information. Printed guides are available at many libraries.
- MOVE Texas created a voter guide with a Spotify playlist that pairs each proposition with a popular song.
- This week’s episode of Gilbert Garcia’s Puro Politics podcast discussed all ten propositions in an interview with Josh Brodesky of the San Antonio Express-News editorial board.
- The San Antonio Express-News editorial board offers guidance for Propositions 1–5 and Propositions 6-10; the board recommends voting FOR Proposition 7. (They support all of the propositions except 1 and 4.)
- SA RISE—San Antonio Rising in Solidarity for Equity has infographics in English and Spanish.
- The Texan published an explainer.
- The Texas Public Policy Foundation created a report and a guide.
- The Texas Tribune published an explainer.
- Vote411 created YouTube videos about all the ballot measures, including Proposition 7.
Voting in Bexar County
Experienced voters will notice some differences about this election. The Bexar County Elections Department is deploying new voting machines. They have touch screens with adjustable font sizes, and it’s easier to change between English and Spanish. Printed ballot cards make the machines more secure. Also, on election day, voters will be able to use any voting center, not just the one in their precinct. Early voting continues through November 1. As always, you can download sample ballots to know what to expect, including some municipal elections and a bond election in Somerset ISD.
We encourage you to bring your kids with you when you vote. Maybe they’ll get a Future Voter sticker!
- “San Antonio-area elections include a school bond issue,” Krista Torralva, San Antonio Express-News, October 30, 2019
- “Everything You Need to Know About Texas Constitutional Amendments for the November 5th Election,” Brad Johnson, Texan, October 21, 2019
- “Early Voting Gives Bexar County Chance to Use New Voting Machines,” Jackie Wang, Rivard Report, October 21, 2019
- “Bexar County rolls out new polling machines today as early voting starts,” Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, October 21, 2019
- “From the Editorial Board: A voters guide for Props 1 through 10,” San Antonio Express-News, October 17, 2019
- “Editorial Board: In-depth analysis of Props 1 through 5,” San Antonio Express-News, October 17, 2019
- “Editorial Board: In-depth analysis of Props 6 through 10,” San Antonio Express-News, October 17, 2019
- “Early voting in Texas’ constitutional amendment election starts Monday. Here’s what voters will decide,” Davis Rich, Texas Tribune, October 15, 2019
- “Guide to School Boards for Independent School Districts in the San Antonio Area: May 2019 Edition,” San Antonio Charter Moms, May 13, 2019
- “Permanent School Fund needs increased oversight and transparency,” San Antonio Express-News, April 6, 2019