News Roundup: School Finance And Property Taxes Will Top 2019 Legislative Agenda

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartJanuary 9, 2019 1:26 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Public school funding and property tax reform are shaping up to be top priorities for the 86th state legislature, which gaveled in Tuesday.

Texas Public Radio’s education reporter Camille Phillips says over the past decade, the state’s share of K-through-12 public education funding has dropped from half, to 38 percent.

School districts rely on local property taxes to make up the difference, with property rich districts helping to pay for property poor districts.

At the same time, parts of the school funding formula haven’t been updated since the 1980s. There’s widespread agreement that reform is needed to replace outdated parts of the formula and reduce the reliance on property taxes. But there are different views on what reform means.

A committee of state lawmakers formed in 2017 created a roadmap that would overhaul the school-funding formula, and target money to low-income students and English language learners.

Authorities in Houston have announced a capital murder charge against a second suspect in the drive-by shooting of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes

As Houston Public Media’s Florian Martin reports, the announcement came while several hundred people gathered at a North Houston church Tuesday for her funeral:

Jazmine’s mother LaPorsha Washington expressed appreciation for the turnout at The Community of Faith Church.

“I didn’t think it was going to be this big but it is big and it is a celebration and I just want to thank everybody,” Washington said.

 Also in attendance were several elected officials. Among them Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who were all invited to speak.

Turner took the opportunity to proclaim Jazmine Barnes Day in Houston.

“Because of her life, I just want to believe that all of us will be better, that all of us will work harder, all of us will strive to make this world a safer place for our children,” Turner said.

After the two-and-a-half hour service that included music from a gospel choir, attendants released purple balloons into the sky.

Purple was Jazmine’s favorite color.

Director Jordan Peele’s follow up to his acclaimed film “Get Out” has a premiere date.

South By Southwest announced Tuesday that the highly anticipated horror thriller “US” will open its film festival in Austin on Friday, March 8.

The trailer for “US” dropped on Christmas day, and the spooky clip has racked up over 10 million views on YouTube.

It focuses on a family on vacation in California, and stars Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Peele’s previous horror/social commentary film “Get Out” received four Oscar nominations, winning best original screenplay.