The Equity Center’s primary goal is to establish a school finance system that provides all school districts fair and equal access to the state’s resources while recognizing real cost differences among students and districts. The Equity Center is involved both directly and indirectly in the policy-making and administrative processes of the State with respect to public school finance. The Equity Center conducts independent research, publicizes its findings, and makes specific recommendations that are fair, rational, and attainable. Beyond the scope of research and advocacy, Equity Center members are entitled to:
- State aid estimates, updated estimates as more numbers become available, checking rollback calculations, and consultation on other local school finance issues.
- Comparisons of “what-if” scenarios with varying tax rates, collection ratios, student data, and so forth—not just for pre-budget adoption, but throughout the school year as new issues arise.
- Assistance from three widely respected school finance analysts. Dr. Charles Aki, Director of Research, spent over 10 years preparing school finance impact models for the TEA School Finance Division before coming to the Equity Center in 2004. Tim Wolff, Programmer/Analyst, served in the same capacity with the Legislative Budget Board for nearly 7 years before coming to the Equity Center in 2008. Additionally, the Equity Center contracts with school finance expert Joe Smith, former public school superintendent and current proprietor of TexasISD.com, as well.
- Online and mailed hardcopies of the Equity Center’s InDepth newsletter, formerly News & Notes.
- New! A series of member-only computer impact runs using member districts own district data that will enable member districts to compare and contrast their funding situations with group averages on a wide range of topics.
- New! Online capability to allow member districts to keep their finance data current so that our impact models will reflect your real-time data.
- New! EC-Xpress, our weekly email publication of current topics concerning schools and school finance issues.
- New! Short learning modules explaining how various parts of our school finance system work and how those characteristics impact Texas schools; have streaming video on our web site and a weekly audio podcast where you will be able to get answers to your school finance queries and listen to all the reports and buzz about our schools and the impact of the legislature on Texas districts. In developing the learning modules, it will be our intent for them to be suitable for lay persons as well as those more experienced in school finance so that you can use them before board meetings, for PTA and service club programs, and, hopefully, for many other things.
- Free School Finance updates and presentations are available for Education Service Centers as well as for local groups of superintendents and business officers as requested—we will even sponsor lunch!
- Attendance at the annual Equity Center School Finance and Legislative Conference each January (Sunday preceding Mid-winter Conference), free of charge—and not just for the superintendents and CFOs—bring anyone on your staff (and spouses) as your guest.
- Client Alerts and Board Minutes via email from Schwartz & Eichelbaum, Wardell, Mehl and Hansen. Client Alerts (Updates) are sent on an as-needed basis covering relevant new laws, decisions, regulations, and procedures. The Schwartz & Eichelbaum Board Minutes is a one page, bimonthly resource for trustees that serves to educate or remind trustees of critical legal requirements and practical pointers pertaining to meeting management.
- 33% annual savings on the Schwartz & Eichelbaum, Wardell, Mehl and Hansen Telephone Consultation Retainer (which includes complimentary initial telephone calls and one complimentary board training session).