School Finance Reform Bill increases funding for Texas schools and lowers property taxes.
Funding for Texas Schools a priority for 86th Texas legislative session
In a sweeping bipartisan show of support, the House Bill 3 for Public School Funding passed the Texas House and Senate over the weekend.
Democrats advocating for increased funding for K-12 public schools and Republicans pushing for changes in the way Texas spends its education dollars came together in unison support to improve Texas Schools.
Both parties have expressed concern for years about the need to overhaul the troubled public-school system and how the state would afford needed changes. Because Texas has no state income, funding for public schools is heavily reliant on local property taxes to foot the bills.
These issues were at the top of legislative priorities this year and bundled together in the passing of SB 2 for Property Taxes and HB 3 for School Funding.
In a statement this weekend, LT. Gov. Dan Patrick said “House Bill 3 is a landmark school finance reform bill that will be transformative for Texas and will help ensure that public schools in our state become number one in the nation. Along with Senate Bill 2, House Bill 3 provides over $7 billion in property tax relief for Texas voters and includes a $4,000 average pay raise for veteran teachers, librarians, school counselors, and nurses. It will also ensure that our schools utilize cutting edge strategies that finally make sure that all our students can read and succeed.”
Provisions of House Bill 3- Texas Public School Funding Bill
House Bill 3 is jam-packed with provisions for $11.5 billion over the next two-year fiscal period. The bill includes funding for $4.5 billion increase in classroom spending, $5 billion to lower property taxes, and another $2 billion increase in teacher salaries.
Here are a few highlights on how the new bill breaks out:
According to the National Education Association, salaries for Texas teachers are currently $7,000 below the National average. HB 3 aims to change that.
The new bill provides $2 billion for increased compensation, of which $1.6 billion is used for direct salary increases for full-time teachers, librarians, school counselors, and nurses. This is estimated to be around $4,000 pay raise per teacher, which is weighted toward those who have at least 6 years of experience. The remainder can be utilized for merit pay compensation, incentive pay for any full-time employee, health benefits, and retirement benefit increases.
Merit pay is not tied to STAAR test assessments as in previous versions of the bill, which has been a significant point of contention for teacher groups.
Increased Classroom Funds
The increased funding across the state provides for a per-student increase from $5,180 to approximately $6,160 per student, inclusive of the teacher pay raises, which are tied to the state’s basic allotment.
Classroom funding in the bill includes many additional items such as increased funding for children who need additional instruction, funding for full-day pre-K for qualifying students, and funding for other educational quality programs such as early literacy, dyslexia training, autism training, mentorship programs, and outcomes-based programs for career readiness.
Additional funds are being allocated for the creation of a ‘do not hire’ registry which will include individuals determined by TEA to be ineligible to receive a teacher certification or accept employment due to a criminal conviction, involvement in child abuse, or sexual misconduct.
Property Tax Relief
House Bill 3 allocates $5 billion over the next two years to help relieve property taxes.
Pushed through the legislature alongside Senate Bill 2 which caps the amount of property tax increases, House Bill 3 is targeted at adjusting the ‘Robin Hood’ system by reducing recapture payments by 47% over the next two years. The Robin Hood system currently in place is designed to take (or recapture) money from wealthier school districts to meet the property tax funding gaps of poorer school districts.
The additional funding in House Bill 3 will reduce the state’s reliance on property taxes and shift the burden back to the state while providing property tax relief for homeowners in the school district. Provisions of House Bill 3 also cap property tax increases by schools at 2.5% and allows school districts to reduce tax rates by an average of 8 cents per $100 valuation in 2020 and 13 cents in 2021.
What does the Texas Public School Funding Bill mean for Frisco homeowners?
Frisco ISD responded to the passing of House Bill 3 by running some numbers to show the impact on the school district and local homeowners.
Frisco ISD will receive an additional $497 – 577 per student in the 2019-20 school year through an additional $30-35 million in increased funding.
The bill will also reduce Frisco ISD’s total tax rate by an estimated 10.165 cents to $1.33835 per $100 valuation, which translates to roughly $403 savings in property taxes for a home valued at $422,364 after homestead exemptions.
“House Bill 3 benefits all school districts and addresses systemic problems in the school finance system,” said Frisco ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mike Waldrip. “We are encouraged by the state’s commitment to providing additional long-term funding for schools and applaud lawmakers for tackling these difficult issues.”
About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine twelve times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly eight times. Judi is also a Company-Wide Top Performer with Ebby Halliday, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.