AUSTIN -- The Texas House voted 134-16 Wednesday to approve House Bill 21. This legislation, authored by Public Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty, would provide additional per-student funding for more than 95 percent of Texas school districts and almost every charter school. It would also reduce the amount of local tax dollars that school districts send to other parts of the state, and it would make needed upgrades to the formulas that distribute education dollars to school districts.
House Speaker Joe Straus, who voted in favor of House Bill 21, has identified school finance reform as a top priority throughout the 2017 legislative session. Speaker Straus released the following statement after Wednesday's vote:
“When the Texas Supreme Court ruled our school finance system constitutional – but deeply flawed – we said that we would continue working to improve the system for students and taxpayers. Today we took a significant step in that direction with the passage of House Bill 21. I want to thank Chairman Huberty, the Committee on Public Education, and the members of the House for taking this step to improve public education in Texas.
“Texas public schools are doing a good job, and House Bill 21 will make them even better. This bill puts needed resources into Texas classrooms. It begins to bring long-overdue improvements to our school finance formulas. And it reduces the impact of Robin Hood by keeping more local dollars in local schools.
“Parents and taxpayers know that our school finance system needs reform. House Bill 21 begins to implement those reforms. If this type of legislation does not become law, property taxes will increase and more school districts will send their local dollars to other parts of the state. We cannot and should not continue to put more and more of the burden on property taxes. Fully reforming our school finance system may take several years and much more work, but now is the right time to start.”