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Newsletter: House Approves Key Education Bill

When the Texas Supreme Court ruled last year that our school finance system was constitutional, but deeply flawed, the Texas House pledged to continue working on the issue. We knew that Texas parents and taxpayers expect the Legislature to help schools provide a better education in a more efficient way.

Last week, the House acted on that pledge and overwhelmingly approved major school finance legislation in the form of House Bill 21. The legislation now moves to the Texas Senate for consideration.

This bill would provide more than $1.8 billion in additional funding for public education, ensuring that more than 95 percent of school districts and almost every charter school would receive more dollars per-student. It would modernize the formulas that determine how much money each school receives. And, importantly, it would allow more taxpayer dollars to stay in their local schools and begin to reduce our over-reliance on local property taxes.

Our school finance system requires some districts to share their local tax dollars with other districts around the state. This process is called Recapture, but it is more commonly known as Robin Hood. As our education funding system has come to rely more and more on local property taxes, more districts have had to send local dollars to other parts of the state. House Bill 21 begins to address this problem by putting more state funding into our schools. As a result, the bill would reduce the amount of money that local school districts send to other parts of the state by almost $400 million over two years.

Reforming the state's complex school finance system will take a number of years. But House Bill 21 is a meaningful start to that process. I am hopeful that we can provide schools more resources and reduce our reliance on local property taxes by passing this bill into law over the final five weeks of our legislative session, and I will continue to keep you updated on its progress.