AUSTIN, Texas -- Public education advocates are calling on state lawmakers to increase public school funding, and say the majority of Texas voters are behind them.
The Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium rolled out new survey results Monday, claiming 71% percent of Texas voters want the state to increase public school funding, rather than rely heavily on local property taxes.
"We have such changing demographics within the state. We have more needs, and those needs require additional teachers," said Kristi Hassett, a member of the Texas Association of School Boards.
It comes as the public had its first and possibly only chance to address a state panel on school finance.
"I'm hoping that they listen to the state-wide data," Hassett said.
Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), who chairs the House Public Education Committee, says the results of the survey don't surprise him.
"We said all along that you can't have property tax relief and reform without a school finance reform," Huberty said.
But Huberty's counterpart in the Senate, Chairman Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), said the state's budget has little room to budge.
"We certainly spend the vast majority of it on public education, but we don't have more money," Taylor said.
Taylor said there are also other pressing expenses, like expanding expenditures at the Health and Human Services Commission.
"It basically pushes out other parts of funding. Education being the number one,” he said.
And others say the state just needs to be more efficient.
"We think that it's time to focus on leveraging the education resources that we do have," said Texas Public Policy Foundation Policy Analyst Emily Sass.
Tuesday members of the commission say they'll hash out what they think are the best ideas so far for ways to fix the system.