Senate committees work through Sunday
Senate committees passed several bills over the weekend. In addition to those already reported, the following hearings occurred on Sunday:
The Senate Education Committee met to hear two bills that would, taken together, would dedicate education funding derived from the state lottery to teacher salary increases and bonuses. SB 97 (Perry) directs the state to allocate those education funds coming from the lottery for this purpose, while SJR 1 (Burton) amend the Texas Constitution to require state lottery funds – after administrative costs, prizes and proceeds paid for veterans’ assistance – to be dedicated for public education, with half of those funds going specifically to salary increases and bonuses for teachers with at least six years of teaching experience and district teacher retirement contribution costs associated with those salary adjustments. The committee left both bills pending.
The Senate Business and Commerce Committee considered SB 7 (Hughes), which prohibits payroll deduction of dues for professional organizations, such as teachers, but excludes police officers, firefighters and emergency response services personnel. Several individuals testified against the bill, including educators – one being 2016 Texas Teacher of the Year Revathi Balakrishnan – and police and correctional officers. The committee passed the bill onto the full Senate.
House Pub Ed lines up bills for Monday, Tuesday
The House Public Education Committee will meet at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 24 and at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 25. Watch the hearings.
HB 21 (Huberty) seeks to update the Texas public school finance system. It includes a funding allotment for students with dyslexia; $25 million for charter school facilities – which, unlike ISD facility funds, are not required to be used for facilities; almost $160 million for a hardship grant to support ISDs and charters facing significant drops in state aid; an adjustment to the 300-square-mile formula; and $75 million for Existing Debt Allotment funding at an increased yield of $40 per student per penny of tax effort.
HB 23 (Huberty) would establish a grant program for districts and charters that provide innovative services to students with autism. The Texas Education Agency would be required to set aside not more than $20 million from Foundation School Program funds to provide the grants to districts.
HB 61 (Hinojosa) would give chapter 41 districts a transportation allotment credit to apply towards the purchase of their attendance credit.
HB 62 (Hinojosa) would provide an adjustment under the foundation school program of the taxable value of property for school districts required to provide social security coverage for district employees.
HB 194 (Ashby) would make changes to the small-sized district adjustment under the Foundation School Program.
HB 197 (Bernal) would increase the bilingual education allotment in the school finance system from 0.1 to 0.25.
HB 234 (Bernal) would increase the state compensatory education allotment, which is designed to help support students who are educationally disadvantaged, from 0.2 to 0.25.
HB 258 (González) calls for a review of public school finance weights, allotments and adjustments; a study of school finance legislation; and an annual increase of the basic allotment.
Relating to the public school finance system.
HB 22 (K. King) would extend additional state aid for tax reduction through 2019 with a provision to exclude districts in which the ASATR funds would be four percent or less than their total state funding.
HB 98 (Bernal) would establish a teacher mentorship program for new classroom teachers.
HB 121 (Bernal) would require a study on the costs of educating educationally disadvantaged students and students of limited English proficiency in public schools.
HB 140 (Giddings) would allow schools to include students in full-day prekindergarten programs toward calculation of their average daily attendance.
HB 178 (Cortez) would provide state funding for career and technology programs from grades 8 through 12 instead of the currently provided funding from grades 9 through 12.
HB 248 (Springer) would continue ASATR for districts operating in a county with no other school districts present.
HB 256 (Bernal) would require the Legislative Budget Board's report on equalized funding elements under the public school finance system to include recommendations on the funding necessary to help all students to achieve satisfactory performance on state exams.