Voucher Bill Set for Hearing; News on Bathroom Bill and School Finance

Voucher Bill Set for March 21 Hearing:  SB 3 is the high-profile private-school voucher bill of the 2017 Texas legislative session, assigned a low bill number as a token of the priority placed on the bill by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate’s presiding officer. It has been noteworthy that the bill has not been […]

School Finance, Pension Hazard, Educator Misconduct

School Finance:  HB 21, the new school-finance bill filed by House Public Education Committee chair Dan Huberty (R-Houston), is drawing broad support from groups that often have been at odds over the allocation of school funding. Groups representing high-wealth and low-wealth school districts alike endorsed Huberty’s proposal for an increase of $1.6 billion in state […]

House Initiative to Improve School Finance Gets Under Way

House Public Education Committee chair Dan Huberty (R-Houston) on Monday filed the House leadership’s initial plan to improve school finance for the coming biennium. The bill is HB 21 (the low number signals it’s a leadership priority), and House rules were suspended so that the bill can be heard on Tuesday, March 7, in Huberty’s […]

Texas House Public Education Committee Sets Priorities

The first meeting of the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday afforded some insight into the educational priorities on the House side of the Texas Capitol rotunda. Committee chair Dan Huberty (R-Houston) said hearings next week and the week following will focus on school finance, with the goal of passing a major rewrite on the […]

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, […]

State Senate’s School-Finance Workgroup Gets Started January 27

An initial hearing of the Senate Finance Committee’s newly created workgroup on school finance will occur on Friday, January 27, at 9:15 a.m. at the state Capitol. The workgroup and full Senate Education Committee will hear testimony jointly at that time, after a brief organizational meeting of the Education Committee. The school-finance hearing will include invited […]

First Day of School as Legislature Convenes for 140-Day Session

The action at the state Capitol on the first day of the 2017 legislative session was noteworthy mainly for what did not happen. There was literally no opposition to the re-election of House Speaker Joe Straus, who accordingly won 150 out of 150 votes. The meaning of the Straus re-election was apparent in his ensuing […]

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s 2017 Education Plans Panned

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s attempts to frame the education agenda of the 2017 legislative session starting in January continue to falter in the face of well-earned criticism. First his plan to make some version of private-school vouchers the Legislature’s foremost education priority met an icy reception in a hearing of the House Public Education Committee […]

School-Finance Hearing Exposes Ills of an Underfunded System

Two Texas House committees deserve credit for devoting 20 hours on September 28 and 29 to joint hearings that spotlighted the strains placed on Texas school districts by our underfunded state system of school finance. The hearings held by the budget-writing Appropriations Committee and the policy-making Public Education Committee drew vehement testimony from district after […]

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 […]