House panels OKs $1.6 billion more for public education,
The House Public Education Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would give public education an extra $1.6 billion over the next two years.
Under House Bill 21 filed by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, most school districts would see a boost but because of the complex school finance system, some would actually see less money.
“When I first got elected to a school board over 14 years ago, it was under the basis to try to change the finance system in the state of Texas and to provide a meaningful discretion for our school districts. While we’re not there, this is a first good step,” Huberty said.
The Austin school district would receive an additional $11.5 million in fiscal 2018 and $12.3 million in fiscal 2019.
The bill would increase the basic amount of money that school districts receive by $210 per student to $5,350. School districts would receive more money than they do now for educating special populations of students including those who have dyslexia and those who are learning English as a second language. The bill also would increase funding for career and technology education courses.
“The House will continue to prioritize this bill and others that improve education for more than 5 million Texas students,” House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, said in a statement.
The bill would create a $200 million “hardship provision grant” that helps school districts that are slated to lose hold harmless funding starting next school year. Hold harmless funding has helped more than 1,000 districts since 2006, when the state decreased property tax rates by a third and provided the money to compensate for that loss.
The full House next will consider HB 21. The boost in funding provided by the bill stands in stark contrast to the $1.4 billion in state support the Senate has proposed cutting from public education.