Major Texas school finance fix set to clear state House

Illustration by Tim Park for The Texas Tribune


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Bakk said it would be better for the House and Senate to each have bills and then bring them to compromise in committee.

Huberty applauded the lower chamber for considering the legislation even though it didn't have to - since the Supreme Court ruled the system constitutional but barely past year. Our state's leader suggests that lawmakers instead, borrow $1 billion dollars for infrastructure.

Senate Bill 2145 would reduce the school finance formula from two tiers to one tier and eliminates certain pots of money that have been given to school districts for certain students, like gifted and talented and high school students, instead using one pot of money for all students.

HB21 increases how much the state spends per student and slightly decreases recapture.

“That House amendment generated the bills fifth fiscal note, and the House amendment raised the fiscal note 25 percent over the version that left this chamber, ” Regier said, referring to the Department of Revenues most recent estimate of how much the tax break would decrease state revenues. But I do not think this issue is going away anytime soon, and we may always be fighting this issue.

Rep. Randy Fine, R-South Brevard, filed the legislation in response to backlash over the Common Core State Standards, which Florida fully implemented in 2014. At the request of Senator Burdick, the Senate Judiciary Committee added the -5 amendment to SB 719 and voted it out of committee.

The proposal would let a state aid program expire. That's half of the more than $400 million that districts now receive through the expiring program.

"There have been many, many bills proposed, but it's never had a hearing, so this is a major step forward to end prohibition", said Melissa Villar, with NORML Tallahassee.

"You can't get a silk purse out of a sow's ear". The last day of session is May 11th.

Such a mandate is included in the House plan: large municipalities like Anchorage and Fairbanks would have to pay the full bill for survivors if one of their officers or firefighters is killed on the job, while the state would pick up half of the costs for smaller municipalities. Parents and educators who testified wanted a few new provisions added in.

No school finance fix is required this session, though, since Texas' Supreme Court ruled last summer that the system was flawed and in need of a top-to-bottom overhaul, but nonetheless barely constitutional.

Sen. Bill Rabon, a Southport Republican, said he's opposed to the bill because it could penalize drivers who follow the speed limit.

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