House To Debate Effort Aimed At Changing Texas School Finance System

Apr 19, 2017

Wednesday at the State Capitol, House lawmakers will vote on legislation aimed at overhauling how the state funds public education.  But while the bill provides schools an estimated $1.6 billion more in public education dollars, critics say it does very little to help  economically-disadvantaged students.

In 2016 the Texas Supreme Court settled what had been a four year long court battle between school districts and the state, stating that Texas’ system for funding public education was constitutional, but was  in need of top to bottom reforms.

House Public Education Chair Dan Huberty is the author of a bill scheduled to be heard on the House floor that aims to do just that.

“If we don’t pass this bill, two things are true, we would fund public education at a lesser level than we did during the last biennium and we have school districts that will close," Huberty says.

Currently school districts receive an average of $51-hundred per student from the state legisalture, under Huberty’s bill that would increase by an average of $120 per student.

While the bill does provide most school districts with more money, critics argue it only makes slight changes to how much state money is available for lower-income school districts.

David Hinojosa is a San Antonio attorney who helped lead the 2006 and 2012 school finance lawsuit against the state.

“HB 21, yes, it does provide more money, but it also, one of its biggest shortcomings is the funding of English-language learners and economically-disadvantaged students," Hinojosa explains.

Wednesday’s debate between House lawmakers  is expected to be heated and long.  

For how the House proposal affects all school districts click here: