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Public School Finance

Texas children, who are the foundation of our future workforce, must have access to a quality education. Improving student achievement starts with how our state finances public education. For the first time since 1993, transformational, long-term improvements to the K-12 education system advanced during the 86th Texas Legislative Session with the passage of school finance reform.

The reform legislation provided $6.5 billion in new state funding to the public education formula funding system and placed greater funding emphases on proven programs aimed at increasing outcomes for all students. Before the start of the legislative session, the Partnership launched a Public School Finance Workshop series in the fall of 2018 designed to enhance the business community's understanding of school finance. That series culminated in publishing a school finance white paper. The Partnership will take a similar data-driven approach to analyzing Texas' public education achievement and identify areas where the business community can support growth.

The Partnership's Priorities for Public School Finance

  • Help the business community to understand the new public education formula funding system and how it impacts the Houston region

  • Advance near- and long-term improvements to public education quality

  • Continue to advocate for sufficient funding of the new school finance formula system and advance innovative initiatives

Actively Involved

Signed into law after the 86th Texas Legislative Session, House Bill 3 delivers transformational school finance solutions, increases the state’s share of funding public education from 38 percent to 45 percent and reduces the burdensome cost of recapture.

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View the Interactive District Map

Explore school finance formula by district.

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New School Finance Formula

Easily follow the new school finance formula on just one page.

See the formula

White Paper Studies School Finance System

Before the session, the Partnership published this white paper.

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Related News

Membership

One Month Remains in Session, Legislature Acts on Coastal Barrier and Economic Development

4/30/21
Week In Review With only 31 days until the end of the 87th Legislative Session, the Legislature acted on several bills impacting the Houston region this week. House Committees heard legislation concerning the coastal barrier and an important economic development incentive program. The House advanced legislation to invest in Texas' health sciences targeting brain-related research. State leaders also announced details on releasing federal COVID relief funding for public education.  Coastal Barrier Legislation Heard in House Committee Representative Dennis Paul (R-Houston) laid out Senate Bill 1160 authored by Senator Larry Taylor (R-Galveston) in the House Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. The Partnership formally supported this legislation. The bill allows for the creation of a local sponsoring entity - the Gulf Coast Protection District - for the coastal barrier project. This legislation is necessary for the project to receive federal funding. The district would have the authority to issue bonds, impose fees and taxes not to exceed legislative limits, and exercise eminent domain to facilitate the construction of the project that would protect the Houston area and Texas economy from the effects of hurricanes and storm surges. Members of the Committee asked questions of Representative Paul related to the taxing structure, caps and scope of the bill. The bill was left pending in committee, but we expect further action in the coming weeks. Chapter 313 Reauthorization and Extension This week, the House Ways & Means Committee favorably reported two bills related to the reauthorization and extension of Chapter 313.  Representative Murphy’s (R-Houston) House Bill 1556 reauthorizes and reforms the Chapter 313 program. The bill also streamlines the application process and adds greater financial predictability to the program. Negotiations were finally reached among school districts that include certain policy provisions that replaces supplemental and revenue protection payments with a new and simpler stabilization payment to school districts. The Partnership continues to support the bill alongside other Keep Texas First coalition members like the Texas Oil and Gas Association, the Texas Association of Manufacturing, the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association and other chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. Also, earlier in the week, Representative Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) presented the committee substitute to House Bill 4242 in the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill will simply extend the expiration date of the Texas Economic Development Act under tax code Chapter 313 by two years from December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2024. Chapter 313 is a critical economic development program as it provides temporary tax abatements to businesses which would otherwise locate in other states. The program has generated billions of dollars in capital investments and tens of thousands of jobs. The reauthorization of the Chapter 313 program is a key priority for the Partnership this session.  House Advances Brain Institute of Texas On Wednesday, the House passed House Bill 15 by Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), on a final vote of 107-36. This legislation would establish the Brain Institute of Texas to fund research in brain-related sciences in Texas. With the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas as a model, the bill would connect public and private institutions of higher education in Texas and other partners to create a state-funded research collaborative to put Texas at the forefront of brain research. The bill would also establish the Brain Institute of Texas Research Fund as a dedicated account in the state's General Revenue. The research would be funded by grants from the institute through revenue from general obligation bonds, and other sources. The Partnership has worked closely with the bill author to support this important legislation. Federal Funding for Texas Public Schools During a Wednesday press conference, Governor Greg Abbott and Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced the release of $11.2 billion in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding to Texas public schools. This one-time federal relief funding is in addition to the $9.5 billion increase in state funding for public education that is included currently in the proposed state budget. School district leaders have until the Fall of 2024 to fully expend the relief funds, and the U.S. Department of Education requires that each district that receives funding must utilize a minimum of 20 percent of the funds to address student learning loss through evidence-based interventions. We estimate that the 20 largest school districts in the Houston region stand to receive approximately $2.4 billion of Texas' ESSER III funding. School districts with significantly higher percentages of economically disadvantaged students are likely to receive more relief funding per student. Houston ISD is expected to receive the most funding in our region, with an allotment of approximately $804 million.  Sign-up to receive Legislative and other Public Policy updates directly to your inbox.
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