The Week Ahead at the Capitol: Budget, Charter Schools, and More

The state budget takes center stage at the Capitol in Austin during the week ahead. The Senate is expected to vote March 28 on its budget bill, SB 1. This bill leaves much to be desired. It will cut higher education significantly–as much as 10 percent at some institutions of higher learning. For public schools […]

State House and Senate Differ Markedly on Budget for Schools

The Texas Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved a draft 2018-19 budget (SB 1) that would let per-pupil funding for public schools stagnate, keeping the basic allotment for all districts at the same level as in 2016. Under the Senate plan, the state would actually reduce the amount of state general revenue for schools substantially, […]

Week in Review and Week Ahead at the State Capitol

The Texas House has begun moving toward a vote to use the Economic Stabilization Fund (also known as the Rainy Day Fund) to cover shortfalls in state funding for key state services. This welcome first step was taken today with filing of HB 2, the supplemental appropriations bill by budget committee chair John Zerwas (R-Richmond), […]

House and Senate Set up Key Subcommittees on Education Budget

Continuing our focus on the budget-writing process, which is where most of the early action is under way in the Texas Legislature, today we highlight two new subcommittees that will lead the drafting efforts in the state House and Senate on education funding. In the House, the so-called Article III subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee […]

House Budget Writers Signal Readiness to Use Reserve Fund as Intended to Cover Shortfalls

The one must-pass bill in the current legislative session is the budget, which holds the key to equitable and adequate funding of public pre-K/12 and higher education. Now that House committees have been named by Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), the House Appropriations Committee has been quick to start its hearings on the drafting of […]

Texas AFT Proposes a School Budget Plan That Actually Meets Needs—and Tells How to Pay for It

In the face of a state Senate budget draft that would actually reduce state general-purpose revenue for public schools by $2.2 billion, Texas AFT legislative counsel Patty Quinzi testified Tuesday in support of a progressive alternative. Here is what she said to the Senate Finance Committee: The Legislature is beginning the 2018-2019 budget cycle with […]

State Budget Hearings Begin with House Pushing for Higher Funding than Senate

The Senate Finance Committee, which will write the Senate version of the state budget for fiscal years 2018-19, began formal hearings Monday with an overview of a first draft of Senate Bill 1 that would provide $8 billion less for public services than the House proposes. The Senate budget draft would provide $2.2 billion less […]

Texas Senate Committees Named

The Senate’s presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, announced committee assignments Wednesday, including significant changes in the roster of the Senate Education Committee. Patrick eliminated from the committee two stalwart supporters of public education, Sens. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) and Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston), and he enlarged the Republican majority, leaving the committee with eight rather […]

Policy Choices, Not Oil Prices, Constrain State Budget Writers

Newspaper headlines may be telling you a state budget shortfall is looming, caused by the recent retreat of oil prices and hence oil revenue for the state. But those headlines are seriously misleading. On the eve of the new state legislative session that begins January 10, state Comptroller Glenn Hegar did indeed tell us the […]

Week of Hearings on Funding Issues, Including School Finance

On Tuesday the legislative and gubernatorial budget experts heard from the Texas Education Agency regarding school finance. The most important takeaway from this hearing was the acknowledgment that rising local property-tax values will translate into a substantial reduction in the state’s funding for public education. Assuming no changes in current formulas, state aid would decline […]