Aycock Announces School Finance Plan

With less than a week before the full House debates CSHB 1 (state budget), Chairman Aycock, flanked by Chairman Otto and numerous other House members, announced that he will substitute HB 1759 with language that will overhaul the current school finance system and add an additional $3 billion over enrollment growth compared to last biennium.  This funding amount is an increase of $800 million over the $2.2 billion currently in the Committee Substitute for House Bill 1.  The additional $800 million in spending will leave the House approximately $1.2 billion below the state’s limit on growth in appropriations.

While there was not bill language made available, Chairman Aycock did discuss some of the major changes to the current system that will be in his proposal. These include:

1.  Changes to the Cost of Education Index (repealing and not replacing)

2.  Increased equity and adequacy (most likely through a basic allotment increase)

3.  Reduced recapture

4.  Providing a phase-out for school districts facing the “ASATR cliff” in the 2017-18 school year

5.  Adjusting the mid-size school district allotment

6.  Providing relief to “fractionally funded” districts

7.  Providing at least 50% of school district transportation costs through state support

Chairman Aycock stated that at the end of last session, Speaker Straus asked him to look into making changes to the current school finance formulas. Over the last months, Chairman Aycock said he met with a core group of 20 or so members to discuss many funding issues. At first Chairman Aycock suggested that these changes were going to come after the court ruling on the school finance case, but that decision has been reversed and that he believes significant strides can be made this session.  He commented that with any school finance bill there will be winners and losers, but due to the additional funding made available this will hopefully mitigate some of the pain.  Chairman Aycock stated that Texas has one of the lowest per pupil spending amounts in the nation and the state’s distribution system is insufficient and inadequate. 

As always, Moak, Casey & Associates will begin to model this plan as details are made available.  We do not have a copy of the bill language so we are unable to answer specific questions on the impact to your district at this time, but we will begin to analyze and comment on certain aspects in the coming days.   

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Posted By : Bob Popinski ~ 3/25/2015 11:39 AM
Related Categories: MCA Updates