What Northwest Austin schools stand to gain from the Legislature's proposed $1.6 billion public school funding reform

The Texas House is expected to vote this week on a proposed $1.6 billion reform of the state's public school funding system.

The Texas House is expected to vote this week on a proposed $1.6 billion reform of the state's public school funding system.

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 and provide millions of additional dollars to Austin, Pflugerville and Round Rock ISDs’ annual budgets.

Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, filed HB 21 and said the bill 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 Northwest Austin school districts be affected? 

  • If the bill passes, AISD would receive $11.5 million more for fiscal year 2017-18, amounting to $116 more per student for the district’s average weighted daily attendance.

  • If the bill passes, PfISD would get $3.2 million more for FY 2017-18, which equals $106 more per student for the district’s average weighted daily attendance.

  • If the bill passes, RRISD would get $12.9 million more for FY 2017-18, which equals $225 more per student for the district’s average weighted daily attendance.


What else does HB 21 do?

HB 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.

AISD is the top contributor to the recapture system in Texas and expects to pay more than half a billion dollars to the state through the system in FY 2017-18.

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 Evan Marczynski


MOST RECENT

Full-time staff would receive a $500 allotment for personal protective equipment, while part-time employees would be given a one-time $250 payment. (Screenshot courtesy Pflugerville ISD)
Pflugerville ISD approves one-time PPE, vaccine incentive stipends for staff

Full-time staff would receive a $500 allotment for personal protective equipment, while part-time employees would be given a one-time $250 payment.

Samsung's proposed $17 billion chip-making plant would dwarf other recent megaprojects that sought tax incentives in the region.
Samsung’s request to pay no property tax on $17 billion plant tests Austin’s incentive policy

Samsung is asking for 100% property tax reimbursement over 25 years, which would mark the most aggressive corporate tax break in Austin history.

A new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine could help expand vaccination availability in Travis County, according to local health officials. (Courtesy Pexels)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine could mean additional supply, easier distribution rollout in Travis County

If approved, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be a valuable weapon against the ongoing pandemic, according to local health officials.

Austin ISD students will begin the 2021-22 school year Tuesday, Aug. 17. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Take a look at Austin ISD’s newly approved calendar for the 2021-22 school year

Austin ISD trustees have approved the academic calendar for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Austin ISD students are scheduled to return to classrooms March 1 for the first time since Winter Storm Uri. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Winter storm damage could prevent 10 Austin ISD campuses from reopening next week

Austin ISD students are scheduled to return to classrooms March 1 for the first time since Winter Storm Uri.

A tree's branches fell on a car in North Austin in the midst of Winter Storm Uri in February. With downed tree limbs and burst water lines causing property damage across Austin, the city has directed additional funds into programs to help some homeowners with emergency home repairs. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Still in crisis mode, Austin City Council initiates recovery following winter storm

With 200 to 400 apartment and condo complexes in Austin still without water, City Council is aiming to direct aid and relieve some of the financial burden felt by residents following the devastating winter storms.

Jo's Coffee opened a North Austin location in January. (Courtesy Chad Wadsworth)
Jo's Coffee opens in Central Austin; new restaurant coming to Georgetown Square and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Here is everything you need to know about Williamson County’s COVID-19 vaccine plan. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Here is everything you need to know about Williamson County’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

Here is a breakdown of what happened, how decisions were made and how vaccine distribution is moving forward in Williamson County.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

Photo of a snowy residential street
'Bad data is worse than no data': Austin health officials unsure how storm affected coronavirus spread

Weekly testing and hospitalization averages will not be updated by Austin Public Health until Feb. 27.