A bill calling for $9 billion over the next two years for schools in Texas has moved to the state House.
House Bill 3, filed by Rep. Dan Huberty of Houston, was approved unanimously Tuesday by the House Committee on Public Education. The bill would spend $6 billion for increased funding to low-income students, and updates to the school finance formula. In addition, another $3 billion would drop property tax rates for many school districts by at least 4 cents per $100 valuation.
The bill was revised after a public hearing last week, removing a provision which would have given teachers extra pay if they performed better. Teachers groups expressed concerns on how teacher performance would be evaluated, with many worrying it would be based on how well students did on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Test.
The bill was also changed so that the Texas Education Agency would have less authority in making certain school finance decisions.
Among other things, HB 3 would give districts more funding to pay teachers who work in areas with a shortage of teachers, at rural campuses, or at “high needs” campuses. The bill also looks to establish funding for dyslexic students, increase funds for dual language programs, expands career and technology funding to the sixth and seventh grades, and provides funds for full-day prekindergarten.
Numerous members of the House have already indicated their approval of the bill. It does not include a teacher pay raise across the board, with House officials saying that decision should be left to the school districts. The Senate has already unanimously passed a bill dedicating $3.9 billion toward $5,000 raises for full-time classroom teachers and librarians.