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Rep.Leach, Jeff

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Texas House Delivers on School Finance Reform; Local Educators Express Strong Support  print page

by: Rep. Leach, Jeff
04/04/2019

AUSTIN – With a vote of 149-1, the Texas House overwhelmingly voted to pass House Bill 3, legislation Co-Authored by Representative Jeff Leach that provides a sweeping, historic school finance package that systemically reforms our state's antiquated finance structure and makes a generational investment in Texas students and educators. Based on years of research, data and expert testimony, House Bill 3 is based largely on recommendations from the Texas Commission on Public School Finance, which was established in 2017. This bill puts into motion approximately $6 billion in additional funding beyond enrollment growth, while lowering school district property rates by an average of 5.5% statewide through a $2.7 billion investment. House Bill 3 reduces "Robin Hood" by 38%, empowers Texas educators, and realigns our state objectives to accelerate student performance.

After casting his vote in support of House Bill 3, Representative Leach issued the following statement:

"After touring every public school in House District 67 over the past year and working collaboratively with educators, constituents, fellow legislators and various policy experts, I am confident that House Bill 3 meets the mark in delivering transformational school finance reforms for our students and educators, for our entire community and for the great State of Texas. House Bill 3 modernizes our school finance formulas, promotes local control, supports teacher pay raises, reduces Robin Hood and recapture payments, and ultimately directs tax dollars to the classroom - where they do the most good. Importantly, House Bill 3 devotes billions toward property tax reform - and gets our state back on track towards a more efficient, transparent and result-driven model that taxpayers expect and deserve. For years, the people of District 67 and across the Lone Star State have cried out for meaningful school finance reform and property tax relief, and I believe this landmark legislation is a substantial step forward to meet this goal."

Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser weighed in on the passage of House Bill 3 with the following statement: "House Bill 3 is a huge step in the right direction for Plano ISD," stated Bonser. "This comprehensive public school finance reform bill will add much-needed new funding for our local schools, while significantly decreasing our local taxpayer burden by reducing Plano ISD’s recapture payment. We are grateful to the leadership in Austin that worked so hard to get to this point, including our local delegation, and we look forward to continuing to push for the final successful passage of this bill."

Dr. Scott Niven, Superintendent for Allen ISD, issued the following statement of support: "I want to applaud Chairman Jeff Leach and his colleagues in the Texas House for passing this transformative legislation that will enhance student educational outcomes, improve teacher pay, and provide property tax relief to homeowners. Allen ISD appreciates Chairman Leach’s commitment to Texas public school children and we look forward to continuing our close working relationship with him for years to come."

Born and raised in Plano, Representative Leach graduated from Plano Senior High School before attending Baylor University. He earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law and currently practices at the Texas law firm of Gray, Reed & McGraw LLP. Most recently, Leach was selected by Speaker Dennis Bonnen to serve as Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, and was named to serve on the House Committee on Pensions, Investments & Financial Services and the House Committee on Redistricting. Leach was recently selected by Speaker Bonnen to serve as the House appointee to the State Preservation Board, and he currently serves as a Legislative Member of the Texas Judicial Council. Jeff and his wife Becky, an author, speaker and artist, are the proud parents of Brady (age 10), Charlotte (age 8) and Landry (age 4). They are active members of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, where they have served for several years in the Young Families Ministry.

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