STRAUS: Providing More Per-Pupil Funding for 95% of School Districts & Charter Schools

Keep more local dollars in local schools, and fix the A-F Rating System

By Texas House Speaker Joe Straus

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas — When the Texas Supreme Court ruled last year that our school finance system is legally constitutional but deeply flawed, I said the Texas House would continue working to improve the system for students and taxpayers.

That work began coming to fruition last week when Rep. Dan Huberty, the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Education, filed House Bill 21. This legislation would put an additional $1.6 billion into our public schools, providing more per-pupil funding for 95% of school districts and almost every charter school.

It would also begin to fix some of the structural flaws in the way we distribute education dollars.

For example, House Bill 21 would:

  • Reduce the amount of local property tax money that local school districts send away to the state by more than $350 million over two years.
  • Provide much-needed updates to the ways the state pays for school transportation. And 
  • Provide a new stream of funding to help schools educate children with dyslexia.

This is a strong first step toward reforming our school finance system and giving educators more resources to help students. It’s also a responsible plan that the state can afford.

We’re also working on an additional number of education issues in the Texas House, such as keeping more local dollars in local schools, fixing flaws in the new A-F rating system, and ensuring that special education is accessible to students who need it. Its been good to hear the perspective of local educators on these and other issues, just like I’ve heard from many parents and active and retired teachers in recent weeks.

I also had the chance recently to host Dr. William Henrich, the President of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. This great institution is a key part of our Texas economy, and the city of San Antonio. And like similar schools around Texas, it plays a very important role in addressing our local and statewide health-care needs.

A strong higher education system leads to economic growth and better lives for our citizens, and that certainly includes our outstanding health facilities

I encourage you to learn more about House Bill 21 and how it would improve your local schools. There is a long way to go in the process, but I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made toward improving
education for more than 5 million Texas students.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in February 2005. In addition to serving as Speaker, he represents Texas House District 121, which includes the Bexar County communities of Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills, and northeast San Antonio.

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