Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed an over eleven-billion-dollar school finance bill into law. Abbott told reporters today the bill is monumental because it lowers school property taxes by ten-percent and gives teachers a raise. The governor says it advances education more than anything he's ever seen.
"The people of Texas demanded that we take bold action to fix our state's broken school finance system, which is why I made school finance reform an emergency item this legislative session," said Governor Abbott. "Thanks to the tireless efforts of those gathered here today, I am proud to sign into law transformative legislation to fix our school finance system. This law provides additional funding to recruit and retain the best teachers for the most challenging classrooms, employ effective strategies to better educate our students, and provide lasting property tax relief to homeowners."
The Governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Senator Larry Taylor, and Representative Dan Huberty who helped spearhead the effort in the legislature.
House Bill 3 creates an incentive pay program for teachers, adds career, college, and military readiness bonuses for school districts, funds full-day prekindergarten for students in poverty, and requires all elementary school principals and teachers in kindergarten through third grade be trained on science-based reading instruction by 2021. The bill also creates a student-focused formula structure, where the needs of a child – not the child’s zip code – will determine funding allocations. Additionally, the bill buys down property tax rates by an average of 8 cents in 2020 and implements a 2.5% property tax cap starting in 2021, which will result in an average tax rate reduction of 13 cents this biennium.
Photo: Courtesy Office of Texas Governor