School Finances: Where are we now and where are we headed?

This fireside chat brings two experts together to discuss the legal, policy, and practical implications of school finance reform in Texas, particularly over the last decade. It will also be a space to discuss the current state legislative session and the opportunities that may surface to increasingly support public schools and their success.


About the Panelists

Catherine Horn
Catherine Horn is Moores Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Executive Director of the Institute for Educational Policy Research and Evaluation at the University of Houston. She is also the Director for the Center for Research and Advancement of Teacher Education and for the University of Houston Education Research Center. Dr. Horn, who received her PhD from Boston College, focuses on the systemic influences of secondary and postsecondary assessment and related policies on the learning trajectories of students, particularly those traditionally underserved by the education and social sectors. Prior to joining the University of Houston, she worked as Research Associate for The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University; Senior Research Associate for the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy’s National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College; and a teacher at Jefferson Davis High School in the Houston Independent School District.

Bob Popinski
Bob Popinski is the Director of Policy for Raise Your Hand Texas. An expert on the Texas school finance system, Popinski provided Moak Casey with in-depth bill and policy analysis during the past seven legislative sessions and throughout the state’s two most recent school finance court cases. He specialized in helping districts interested in entering economic development agreements and has authored detailed studies on Texas’ fast-growth school districts, tax appraisal limits, and its state school transportation funding system. Popinski holds a Master of public affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor’s degree from St. Edward’s University. He was a member of the Teach for America program and taught fourth grade and computer science in Phoenix.

Dr. Toni Templeton
Dr. Toni Templeton is a Research Scientist at the University of Houston Education Research Center where she leverages the statewide data repository to conduct quantitative investigations of education policy, workforce outcomes, and school finance. Her work intentionally employs critical frameworks to center historically marginalized populations and uncover effects of systemic racism. Before Dr. Templeton completed her Ph.D. at the University of Houston, she developed expertise in school funding mechanisms working in Texas education policy.



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