Governor Greg Abbott today signed into law landmark legislation to reform school finance, increase teacher pay, and provide property tax relief, according to a Tuesday news release from the Governor’s office.
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.
“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,” Governor Abbott stated in the press release. “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.”
House Bill 3 (Huberty/Taylor) 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.
Additionally, the signing ceremony was attended by Senators Jane Nelson, Royce West, Kirk Watson, and Donna Campbell, as well as Representatives Alma Allen, Diego Bernal, Ken King, John Zerwas, Trent Ashby, and Mary Gonzalez.