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.

Joshua Kumler