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 […]

Governor’s “State of the State” Misses the Mark on School Funding, Vouchers, and Employee Voice

By constitutional design, the Texas governorship is a comparatively weak executive position, with only modest direct authority to govern the state. But one power the governor does have is to designate certain legislation as an emergency item, eligible for early action during the biennial legislative session. And today Gov. Greg Abbott exercised that authority to […]

Senate School-Finance Hearing Takeaways

The Senate Education Committee and the overlapping Senate Finance workgroup on school finance held a four-hour hearing Friday to consider a wide spectrum of views on fixes needed in what all agree is a school-funding distribution system in serious need of renovation. Senate Education chair Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, had a message for all the witnesses, […]

Speaking Up for Funding for Higher Education

Marathon hearings on funding for higher education have been under way in the state Senate Finance Committee Wednesday and Thursday. Texas AFT and allies in these hearings are making the case for key programs that enhance educational opportunities in both preK-12 and higher education. A highlight of Wednesday evening’s testimony came when representatives of the […]

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 […]

National Day of Action to Support Public Education

Texas AFT members will take part in a “National Day of Action” Thursday, January 19, as part of a nationwide series of events sponsored by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools . Activists across the nation will stand together to: Demand that our schools and campuses be safe places free from the threat of racism […]

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 […]

State Commitment to Health-Care Funding Debated

A state Joint Committee on TRS Health Benefit Plans has issued a report suggesting no new state funding to cover the rising costs of health care for active and retired school employees. The effect would be to accelerate the erosion of the state’s commitment to health-care affordability for both active employees and retirees. This report […]