The House surprised many observers Tuesday evening by adjourning "sine die" (indicating the final day), a day before the last possible day of the special session. The Senate followed suit soon after. While several of the governor's priority issues passed, several did not, including property tax reform, a bathroom bill, payroll deduction prohibition, a teacher pay raise, and vouchers. The demise of the property tax legislation, along with a new court ruling that may require the legislature to re-draw some congressional district boundaries, has some speculating about a second special session, but there has been no firm indication one way or the other from the governor's office.

House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty spoke to the House about his disappointments regarding funding for public schools before moving to accept the Senate version of the school finance bill. HB 21, which has since been signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, includes $351 million for public schools — a far cry from the $1.8+ billion that the House had championed. The bill also includes $212 million for TRS-Care funding. The $563 will be distributed as follows:

School finance

  • $150 million in hardship grants to assist districts losing money because of the expiration of ASATR (additional state aid for tax reduction)
  • $60 million for facilities funding for traditional districts
  • $60 million for charter school facilities
  • $41 million for small districts
  • $40 million for autism and dyslexia grants

TRS-Care

(These figures show changes from the legislation passed during the regular session.)

  • Reduction in deductibles for non-Medicare retirees: from $3,000 to $1,500 individual; from $6,000 to $3,000 family
  • Reduction in out-of-pocket maximums for non-Medicare retirees: from $6,650 to $5,650 individual; from $13,300 to $11,300 family
  • $200/month premium reduction for retirees covering adult disabled children
  • $11/month premium reduction for Medicare-eligible retirees (individual)
  • Premium reductions for all levels of dependent coverage, for both Medicare and non-Medicare retirees

Click here for a complete chart of new premium rates and other details.

School finance commission

As it finally passed, HB 21 also includes the creation of a school finance commission to study the state education funding system and make recommendations to the next legislature. The composition of the commission includes legislators, at least one current or retired teacher, two appointees who must be either an administrator or school board member, and members of the civic and business communities.