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:
Changes to the Cost of Education Index
(repealing and not replacing)
Increased equity and adequacy (most likely through a basic allotment
Providing a phase-out for school districts
facing the “ASATR cliff” in the 2017-18 school year
Adjusting the mid-size school district allotment
Providing relief to “fractionally funded” districts
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.