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Additional Education Funding Still Below What Was Cut Last Legislative Session

David Martin Davies

The House Budget Committee approved additional funding for public school districts and changed a key component for how schools are funded locally. They voted out a budget bill out of committee late Thursday that will provide school districts $3 billion over the next 2 years.

Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, is the vice-chair of the committee and said that is still below what was cut during the 2011 budget.

"The legislature cut $4 billion in formula funding in the last session. We are putting back in at this point the proposal on the House side is $2.5 billion of that $4 billion.  It is not a clean slate, it’s not full restoration, but it is certainly more than what some expected to be there," Howard said.

She said an amendment to the bill would change the current practice of re-capture, which occurs when a property-wealthy school district is required to send portion of its money to help fund some of the more impoverished districts in the state.

"It’s not going to mean a lot of additional money coming into the district," said Howard, "but it does mean a significant reduction in re-capture and sending it back to the state." 

Howard said this satisfies a recommendation from a state district court that ruled the Texas education funding system was unconstitutional. 

Next week the House will have a final review and vote of the bill.