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Governor Abbott signs historic school finance bill

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Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3 into law on Tuesday. It constitutes a major overhaul of the public school finance system. It is the result of nearly two years of discussion and debate that began in 2017 with the creation of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance. Senator  Larry Taylor released the following statement upon the signing of the bill:

“Today is a historic moment in Texas. House Bill 3 devotes over $11.6 billion to school finance reform and property tax relief and will affect all who reside in our great state. Working on House Bill 3 has been the most challenging task I’ve encountered as a legislator, but it has also been the most rewarding. I am proud that the Legislature has devoted its focus to the children of Texas; HB 3 will fundamentally change the future of Texas schools for the better.

“School finance is a complex issue that requires significant time and energy to understand. I am truly grateful to the members of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance, who met for over a hundred hours during 2018 to study recommendations that are today reflected in HB 3. I also want to thank the members of the Senate Education Committee and my colleagues in the House for their work. HB 3 passed unanimously in both chambers of the Legislature- a true testament to the commitment shown to public education this session regardless of party affiliation.”

House Bill 3 accomplishes, in part, the following reforms:

• Increases funding by approximately $1,000 per student

• Reduces recapture payments by $3.6 billion, a 47% reduction over the next biennium

• Prioritizes veteran educators by investing $2 billion in pay increases for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses – representing an average total benefit compensation package of $4,200

• Creates incentive pay program for high-quality teachers to earn up to $100,000 based on performance, experience and merit

• Funds full-day Pre-K for low income students

• Creates the first dyslexia identification program in Texas history and provides significant funding for those students

• Directs more dollars to ensure students are College, Career and Military ready • Adopts high-quality K-3 reading standards to ensure all students are able to read at grade level by 3rd grade

• Provides over $5 billion in statewide property tax relief

• Buys down property tax rates by an average of 8 cents in 2020 and 13 cents in 2021

• Increases the state’s share of education funding from 38% to 45% and implements a 2.5% property tax cap.

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