RootEd believes that when we plant deep roots in our neighborhood schools it makes our communities better. We are so thankful to the House public education committee for agreeing with us and unanimously passing their school finance bill out of committee today. 

HB3 pours an additional $9 billion into our public schools, mostly through lowering property taxes, reducing recapture, and raising the basic allotment that districts receive from the state per pupil. The House trusts each school district to know their greatest needs, which is why they give the spending discretion to the districts.

The Senate has a different approach. They approved a $5,000 raise for teachers across the board. Obviously RootEd values our teachers and hopes for much more than that for them and all of the support staff that makes our schools wonderful. HB3 does not include an allotment for teacher raises like the Senate bill does, but it does provide more than enough for districts to pay their teachers significantly more where needed. 

We are grateful for Chairman Huberty and Vice Chairman Bernal for their dedication. They, and the rest of the committee, have poured many hours into carefully hearing testimony and changing their bill accordingly. Because of advocates taking their time to testify, the committee removed a section of the bill that promoted a merit pay system for teachers. Chairman Huberty said that they did not intend for teachers to be rated on their students’ STAAR test scores, but because the bill did not make that clear, they took it out. 

We are very pleased with the investment in full day pre-k for all qualified 4 year olds in Texas as well as an early educational reading allotment for districts that don’t have capacity for pre-k. This is an investment that will set up more children and families for success. 

When the bill goes to the Senate and the members begin to reconcile the versions of the bills, we hope that more funding goes to English Language Learner programs. We also want to make sure that GT programs are protected.

It’s hard to complain about very much in this bill. The difference between the strides being made for public education this session compared with the last are unbelievable. Remember, in 2017, essentially nothing positive was done for public education because the House and the Senate were in a stalemate over vouchers. We are thrilled that not only are vouchers out of the question this biennium, but our law makers are determined not to let politics get in the way of doing what’s right for our students and the future of Texas.