Governor Signs HB 21 School Finance Bill
08.17.2017 — On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 21 into law. As amended by the Senate, HB 21:
- creates a $150 million grant program for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to provide transition aid for school district financial hardship (ASATR) with grants provided according to a specified formula to districts
- provides, beginning in the 2018-19 school year, $60 million in facilities funding for charter schools with acceptable performance ratings
- increases, beginning in fiscal year 2019, the guaranteed yield for the FSP Existing Debt Allotment for school districts each year to the lesser of $40 or the amount that would result in a $60 million increase in state aid from the level of state aid provided by a yield of $35
- annually increases, beginning in fiscal year 2019 and ending in 2024, the small district adjustment for districts with boundaries encompassing less than 300 square miles until the adjustment is equal to the level currently provided for small districts encompassing 300 or more square miles ($41 million allocated for this purpose)
- creates two $20 million grant programs for special needs students: one to provide innovative services to students with autism and a second to provide innovative services to students with dyslexia
- creates the Texas Commission on Public School Finance to develop and make recommendations for improvements to the current public school finance system or for new methods of financing public schools. The commission is to be composed of 13 members, consisting of: four members appointed by the governor; four members appointed by the lieutenant governor; four members appointed by the speaker; and a member of the SBOE, as designated by the chair of that board. The members appointed by the governor must have an interest in public education and include at least: one person who is a current or retired classroom teacher with at least 10 years of teaching experience; one person who is a member of the business community; and one person who is a member of the civic community. The appointments made by the lieutenant governor and the speaker must each consist of: three members of the applicable legislative chamber; and an administrator in the public school system or an elected member of the board of trustees of a school district.
- provides $212 million for TRS-Care participants to: reduce costs, including premiums, deductibles, and prescription drugs, during the 2018 and 2019 plan years; and reduce the premium and maximum out-of-pocket cost for an enrolled adult child with a mental disability or a physical incapacity during the 2018 and 2019 plan years
HB 21 is to be funded by transferring from the Health and Human Services Commission a total of $563 million in General Revenue appropriations for the 2018-19 biennium to TEA ($351 million) and TRS ($212 million) for implementation.