Lawmakers to vote on Huberty’s proposed $1.6 billion reform of public school funding system this week

House Bill 21 could provide $1.6 billion in additional funding for public school districts in Texas.

House Bill 21 could provide $1.6 billion in additional funding for public school districts in Texas.

A year after more than 600 school districts challenged the public school funding formula in the Texas Supreme Court, the beleaguered system is facing a test from the state Legislature.

The Texas House of Representatives is preparing to vote this week on House Bill 21, which would increase school funding by $1.65 billion. However, the bill would result in a loss for Conroe ISD, Chief Financial Officer Darrin Rice said.

“House Bill 21 is actually going to negatively effect CISD, compared to other districts,” Rice said. “Although in the bill we are gaining up to $4.5 million, we’re actually losing on the transportation allotment.”

The transportation allotment is based on a district’s linear density, Rice said. CISD submits a report annually to the Texas Education Agency showing how many students require district-provided transportation and how many miles are driven. Transportation revenues for the district typically add up to $7.3 million. However, if HB 21 becomes law, CISD will have about $7.1 million to work with in the 341 square miles the district covers, Rice said.

HB 21 was filed by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, and he said the legislation is the first step in a multisession process to more adequately fund public schools in Texas.

“We are putting more resources in the classroom and making needed reforms to our school finance formulas,” said Huberty, who serves as chairman of the Public Education Committee. “By increasing state funding for schools, we can improve instruction and reduce the need for higher property taxes.”

How would Conroe ISD be affected? 

  • If the bill passes, CISD would receive $4.5 million more for the 2017-18 fiscal year, amounting to $63 more per student for the district’s average weighted daily attendance.


What else does HB 21 do?

House Bill 21 adjusts the funding formula by allotting an additional $1.65 billion to public education over the next two years, per the bill’s fiscal note. Here are some of the other major changes the bill makes:

  • An additional weight for dyslexic students that Huberty says will affect 154,000 students

  • An increased weight for career technical education and technology

  • An increased bilingual adjustment to factor in for the diverse student population

  • A professional development grant for nonprofessional staff

  • Adjustments made to the hardship grant in light of the end of Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction funding


How does HB 21 affect the “Robin Hood” funding system?

Recapture, colloquially known as the “Robin Hood” plan, was first created in 1993 as a way to divert tax revenue from property wealthy school districts to property poor districts for the goal of greater equity.

In 2016-17, 379 school districts are considered property wealthy and are expected to send more than $2 billion in total to the state, according to the Texas Education Agency.

If passed, HB 21 would lower recapture payments by approximately $173 million in 2018 and $205 million in 2019, said Molly Karol Spratt, who serves as Huberty’s Legislative Director.

What’s next for the bill?

The House is expected to vote on HB 21 on Wednesday. If it passes the House, HB 21 would then be sent to the Texas Senate.

However, the bill could face a challenge in the Texas Senate, which decreased funding for public schools by $1.8 billion in general revenue in its budget in early April.

The two state bodies have until Memorial Day—when this legislative session ends—to reach a compromise on public school funding unless a special session is called to reconcile the differences.

Additional reporting by Emily Donaldson 
By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.


MOST RECENT

Texas Medical Center continued to see week-over-week decreases in the total number of active COVID-19 hospitalizations but also saw a significant increase in patient deaths, the medical center reported May 29. (Community Impact staff)
Texas Medical Center sees another week-over-week decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Texas Medical Center continued to see week-over-week decreases in the total number of active COVID-19 hospitalizations but also saw a significant increase in patient deaths, the medical center reported May 29.

FM 1486 will be closed between Jackson and Sandy Hill roads from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May 30-31. (Courtesy Fotolia)
FM 1486 closure in Montgomery County scheduled for May 30-31

FM 1486 will be closed between Jackson and Sandy Hill roads from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May 30-31.

The Willie's Grill & Icehouse restaurant in Copperfield is temporarily closed after reopening in mid-May. (Courtesy Willie's Grill & Icehouse Copperfield)
Study predicts coronavirus spike and other top Houston-area stories

Read some of the most popular Houston-area content on Community Impact Newspaper’s website from this week.

The syrup drums being repurposed into rain barrels were donated from Coca-Cola. (Courtesy Galveston Bay Foundation)
Galveston Bay Foundation to host virtual, drive-thru rain barrel workshop

The Kemah-based nature conservation nonprofit is hosting a rain barrel workshop this weekend for Houstonians thirsting for a way to help conserve the community’s water supply.

The Texas Renaissance Festival is set to resume Oct. 3 with safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy Texas Renaissance Festival)
Texas Renaissance Festival announces tentative modifications for 2020 season

In a May 28 statement, General Manager Joseph Bailey said new safety measures are in the works to comply with governmental recommendations, and an operating plan is expected to be reviewed with officials in June.

Riva Row Boat House
GALLERY: Restrictions in Montgomery County easing, but residents remain cautious

Click through this photo gallery to see how residents are slowly adapting to life during a pandemic.

Conroe ISD will distribute meals until the end of June. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe ISD to continue meal distributions through June

The district will offer meal pickups Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-noon through June.

Lone Star College plans to partially open 26 buildings beginning June 1. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lone Star College System discusses reopening plan for June 1

Lone Star College plans to partially open 26 of its buildings June 1, prioritizing health science buildings.

Outdoor venues in all Texas counties will be permitted to operate at up to 25% capacity starting May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spectators to be welcomed back to Texas outdoor sporting events May 31 at 25% of venue capacity

Venue owners must operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.

Montgomery County has more physicians and registered nurses per 100,000 residents than the nearby Harris County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Health Care Snapshot 2020: Montgomery County improves state ranking for number of physicians, registered nurses

Montgomery County has more physicians and registered nurses per 100,000 residents than nearby Harris County, according to 2019 data from Texas Health and Human Services.