House Bill 100
The Texas Tribune is offering its readers the opportunity to stay up-to-date on essential Texas news with its daily newsletter, The Brief. On Wednesday, the Texas House gave preliminary approval to House Bill 100, authored by Representative Ken King (R-Canadian), a measure that would increase the funds available to Texas schools by raising the basic allotment per student.
The current allotment of $6,160 per student that schools receive from the state would be increased to $6,250 in 2024 and at least $6,300 in 2025. This could potentially be raised further to account for inflation due to the dip in the value of school funds over the past year. School districts have been advocating for an increase in the allotment since 2019, and the current bill presents a ray of hope for their finances.
Other Financial Provisions
Although the state has an unprecedented $32.7 billion surplus, legislators have only proposed allocating some of these funds to school districts for specific uses. The Senate has passed a bill allowing teachers to receive either a one-time bonus of $2,000 or $6,000 depending on the size of the school district, while the House has allocated $1.6 billion for school security and $500 million to improve teacher preparation.
Adjusting Teacher Pay
The bill would also raise the portion of state dollars that school districts are required to use to pay for teacher raises from 30% to 50%. The Texas American Federation of Teachers estimates that the teachers would receive an extra $80 per paycheck at best, but this still falls short of the inflation adjustment of $7,671 that was proposed.
The most transformative aspect of House Bill 100 is the proposed change in the metric used to calculate school funding from average daily attendance to average enrollment. This stipulation would mean that school districts would receive money based on the number of students they are expected to educate each year, instead of the number of students who attend class. This could help districts that have been hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, as parents are more likely to keep their children at home if they are feeling ill.
House Bill 100 is a notable piece of legislation that is attempting to provide some financial security to Texas schools. While the bill is not perfect, school districts are hopeful that further work by the House and Senate will prevent them from having to implement austerity measures.