Nicole Conley Johnson Joins Public Education Review

AISD CFO becomes fourth member of Texas Commission on Public School Finance

AISD Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley Johnson at an AISD meeting in 2011
AISD Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley Johnson at an AISD meeting in 2011 (by John Anderson)

AISD CFO Joins Public Ed Review

Austin Independent School District Chief Fin­an­cial Officer Nicole Conley Johnson has been appointed by House Speaker Joe Straus to the new Texas Com­mis­sion on Public School Fin­ance. She joins House Public Education Com­mittee Chair Dan Huberty, R-Houston, and committee members Diego Bernal, D-San Anton­io, and Ken King, R-Can­ad­ian, as the sole non-legislator on the body. Straus said the commission was formed in the wake of the failure of House Bill 21, targeted as the first in a series of long-overdue reforms. How­ever, he said, "The legislation did not become law because the Texas Senate significantly reduced the amount of money that the bill would have put into education."

Johnson has been AISD's CFO since 2009. Her appointment sends a message about the new commission, and a clear signal that the state's highly dysfunctional recapture system will be under scrutiny. More­over, lawmakers have increasingly treated AISD like a cash cow, and much of the recent hikes in property tax bills can be put down to the stresses of recapture. Straus said, "As someone whose school district is projected to pay more than $500 million in Robin Hood payments this year, Ms. Johnson understands the problems in our current system."

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