April 27, 2023- Texas House gave preliminary approval to a school finance Bill that would increase the amount of state money that schools get per student, start adjusting it for inflation and introduce a major change to how funding is calculated each year.
House Bill 100, authored by Rep. Ken King, R-Canadian, would increase the basic allotment, this being the minimum money that schools may get per student. Currently the amount that schools get per child is $6,160, with the new Bill, authored by King, would increase this amount to $6,250 in 2024 and when the state would also consider raising the allotment further due to increasing inflation increase by at least $50 by 2025 to make $6,300.
The Bill will be voted on one more before heading off to Senate.
Texas House and Senate have approved separate proposals that would give school districts billions in a attempt to lower property taxes from homes and businesses. The Senate passed a bill that would give teachers one-time bonuses of either $2,000 or $6,000, depending on their school district’s size. The House passed a $1.6 billion school security bill in response to the Uvalde shooting last year and half a billion dollars for improvement to teacher preparations.
The Bill would raise the portion of the state dollars that districts are required to use to pay for teachers raises from 30% to 50%. the rest may be used for other school expenses such as maintaining school buildings and buy necessary school supplies.
The Texas American Federation of Teachers has stated that the House Bill 100 would at best put a extra $80 in the paychecks of teachers. The teacher union also stated that they calculated that the allotment would need to increase to $7,671 per student to account for inflation.
In Texas, if a student misses school, their district’s attendance average goes down — and so does the amount of money it receives. And in a post-COVID-19 world in which parents are quicker to keep their children home if they’re feeling ill, some districts’ finances have become more volatile than ever.
Under house Bill 100, most schools funding will be determined by the attendance of the students, using the average attendance of the students to calculate the amount to be given to the school, but the state would swap that metric for enrollment when counting how many children are bilingual, poor or enrolled in special education programs. By using average enrollment, districts would get money based on how many kids they’re expected to educate each year, not how many show up for class.
In texas there are roughly 5.5 million K-12 students, however only about 92% regularly attended school last year, schools would’ve received millions in state dollars for the remaining students if funding were based on enrollment.
Currently, a teacher with 10 years of experience has to be paid at least $54,540. Under HB 100, that teacher would need to be paid at least $55,000 if they don’t have a teaching certificate and $60,000 if they do.