Comprehensive School Finance Reform Has Come to the Texas House
We have reached a major milestone in the school finance reform debate: the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 3, its comprehensive school finance reform bill, by a vote of 148 to 1 .
HB 3, authored by House Public Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty and co-authored by over 100 representatives, promises to invest an additional $6B into Texas public education over the next biennium, with an additional $2.7 billion going toward property tax relief.
Notably, the bill calls for a historic increase in the basic student allotment from $5,140 to $6,030, an additional $780M for low-income and English-language-learning students in early grades, sufficient to provide full-day, high-quality pre-K statewide for eligible 4-year-old students, and $1.1B in new funding to provide additional resources for Texas’ low-income students.
However, the bill lacks several critical recommendations from the Texas Commission on Public School Finance. In particular, HB 3 as passed does not provide districts with outcomes-based funding for key academic benchmarks, nor does it provide optional funding for strategic teacher compensation, a provision that was stripped from the original bill during committee hearings.
During the floor hearing, the bill was amended to:
Require school districts to use 25% of any increase in the Basic Allotment on salary increases for full-time school district employees (75% of which must be used for an across the board raise).
Require school boards to adopt college, career and military readiness plans that set specific quantifiable annual goals for the following five years for this benchmark on each campus.
Enforce certain spending requirements for the compensatory education allotment, which HB 3 increases by an additional $1.1B.
We encourage you to take a moment to congratulate your House Representative for passing this historic bill, and thank them for their dedication to Texas public schools.
Next, you can expect:
HB 3 will be sent to the Senate, where the Senate Education Committee is expected to begin proceedings on the bill in the coming weeks.