New legislation filed Monday would provide $1.6 billion in funding to most school districts in Texas over the next two years.
House Bill 21 by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, would increase the basic allotment for more than 95 percent of school districts to $5,350, which would add $210 per student.
Increasing the basic allotment is an easy fix that gives almost every school district a boost. Plus, lawmakers aren’t likely to pass a top-down reform of the state’s troubled finance system this session.
“Robin Hood” is a system where school districts with high property wealth give a portion of their revenue back to the state to be redistributed to schools with lower property wealth. Increasing the basic allotment would decrease the amount that these schools pay under this system.
The Austin school district currently has the highest recapture payments with an expected $406 million this school year, nearly a third of the districts $1.3 billion budget.
Huberty’s bill will get rid of pots of money that are intended to help pay for certain things, such as salaries for nonprofessional staff members and initiatives to improve high schools, freeing up money to increase the basic allotment. School district advocates have said that these pots of money are often not used for their intended purpose.
The House Public Education Committee will hold a hearing and take a public testimony on the bill today, Tuesday, at noon or shortly after the House adjourns.