The Texas House Public Education Committee on Tuesday approved the substitute for House Bill 21 on a 10-1 vote. It now goes to the full House for consideration.
Rep. Morgan Meyer was the sole "nay" vote, voting no because the bill does not address recapture. Highland Park ISD, which is in his district, would lose money as a result, he said.
Rep. Dan Huberty, Chairman of the Public Education Committee, authored the bill. He said the bill, which sends an additional $1.65 billion to public education over the next two years, does not help everybody, but it's a "good first step."
Community Impact Austin outlines some of the other major changes the bill makes:
An additional weight for dyslexic students that Huberty says will affect 154,000 students
An increased weight for career technical education and technology
An increased bilingual adjustment to factor in for the diverse student population
A professional development grant for nonprofessional staff
Adjustments made to the hardship grant in light of the end of Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction funding"
Substitute in the works for Texas House school finance bill
House Bill 21, filed by Dan Huberty, seeks to fix the school finance issue in Texas. The Texas Association of School Administrators provided the following update on the bill after its hearing by the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday:
HB 21 (Dan Huberty) would increase the basic allotment from $5,140 to $5,350 per student, each year of the biennium by: providing transportation funding of $125 per student through the basic allotment to benefit charters and allows districts that pay recapture to fully access state transportation dollars for the first time; including funding for the High School Allotment; and including funding for Additional State Aid for Non-Professional Staff. The bill would lower recapture by approximately $163 million in 2018 and $192 million in 2019. It would also create a Hardship Provision Grant to provide assistance to districts that will experience a hardship due to the expiration of ASATR, add a 0.1 weight for students with dyslexia, and repeal the hold harmless for districts identified as Chapter 41 in 1993.
This bill was first discussed on Tuesday, March 7. Discussion continued on the bill as filed; no substitute has been offered yet.
Huberty pointed out that without passage of HB 21, which adds $1.6 billion to the public education budget, school funding would effectively be cut by $140 per student.
He reiterated that the bill does not fix all the problems with the school finance system but that he and the bill’s co-authors have had hundreds of meetings with stakeholders during the past few months and many during the week since the bill was introduced. He said he has heard many good ideas and concepts for fixing the system but that this bill is trying to do one thing: Take a simplistic approach to making progress on what will have to be a multi-session fix.
Some discussion centered around how best to prioritize and allot funding for transportation, hardship due to loss of ASATR, and repeal of the hold harmless provision.
Huberty said he would be open to further input and plans to file a substitute bill soon.
The discussion Tuesday, which was the second hearing on the bill, centered on which districts would receive priority as the TEA awarded hardship grants. Huberty’s suggested change would allocate $200 million to the grants and split them into three categories: those losing ASATR, those that would lose transportation funding and that that received money under a 1993 Hold Harmless that would cease to exist under HB 21.