The last week of the session ended Monday, May 27. It has been a busy and productive session and we are starting to see the big pieces come together after weeks of negotiation.
One of the biggest goals of the session has been to overhaul our broken school finance system while providing property tax relief to Texas property owners. Last week, Speaker Bonnen, Lt. Gov. Patrick, and Gov. Abbott held a press conference to announce the agreement that has been reached on HB 3.
HB 3 will provide an additional $4.5 billion for public schools, providing an increase to the per student amount of money each school receives, funds full-day Pre-K for low income students, and funds a high-quality reading program for K-3 children to make sure all Texas kids can read at grade level by 3rd grade.
HB 3 also provides additional transportation funding, which is a huge boost for rural schools and provides additional funding for schools with higher concentrations of under-served students.
HB 3 also provides $5 billion for property tax relief!
In 2020, school property tax rates will be lowered by 8 cents and by 13 cents in 2021. The percentage that your property tax bill will decrease will vary based upon your local school rates.
One of the additional benefits of the increased state funding is that we will see a drastic reduction in the amount of local property tax dollars sent to the state under the current recapture program, meaning that our local dollars will stay with our local schools.
HB 3 also provides over $2 billion to raise compensation for teachers. It provides for a base increase in teacher pay, but also has money earmarked for merit and incentive pay for high performing teachers as well as money to mentor new teachers and to incentivize teachers who work with students during the summer break.
Combined with SB 12, we will contribute almost $1,000 more per teacher to the Teacher Retirement System, bringing that system closer to being actuarially sound and providing a cost of living increase for all retired teachers.
While the finalization of HB 3 was one of the biggest happenings of the week, the finals days were busy and there was much more going on in Austin.
If you have questions about HB 3 or anything else going on, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com, 512-463-0556 (Austin office), or 903-935-1141 (Marshall office).