NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If a school finance reform plan stays intact some North Texas school districts will be able to spend more money on students in the classroom.
According to the summary, House Bill 3 would increase the base funding per student by $890 to $6,030 and lower school district property tax rates statewide by 4 cents per $100 of value.
HB 3 is one of the things up for debate in the State House this week.
A lot of North Texas superintendents are supportive of the overhaul, because it keeps more tax dollars within their school systems – as opposed to redistributing the money throughout the state.
The plan includes changes to the so-called “Robin Hood system” that has property tax revenue from property-wealthy school districts distributed to schools in property-poor districts.
If House Bill 3 passes, as it is, there will be some dramatic differences.
Under the current plan, the Dallas Independent School District is set to hand over more than $186 million to the state next year. The proposed finance reform package would drop that amount to $11 million and allow the DISD to keep millions of tax dollars. The contribution from the Allen ISD would drop below $1 million and the Plano school district would write recapture check for about $100 million less.
Northwest, Keller and Eagle-Mountain Saginaw are three local school districts that wouldn’t have to pay any money back to the state.
Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa arrived in Austin Monday night to meet with the Lt. Governor and rally lawmakers in support of the bill before the vote on Wednesday.
Hinojosa says, if HB 3 passes, it would allow DISD to spend more money on teachers and initiatives, without a deficit.
“We can fund initiatives that have worked – our teacher compensation, our pre-kindergarten, our school choice, our strategic compensation, our racial equity,” Dr. Hinojosa said. “All of those things can now get funded without a deficit at the end, and we’re also coming up with more programs to help improve achievement. All this is a win-win if it makes it through.”
HB 3 would increase minimum teacher salaries and pour some $140 million into teacher recruiting and retainment, but does not include an across-the-board teacher pay raise.
The house starts debate on the school finance reform bill on Wednesday.