On a near-unanimous vote of 148-1, members of the Texas House today approved HB 3, the school finance bill. The lengthy bill, which we will describe in more detail in a coming update, infuses approximately $6.3 billion in new money into Texas public schools. The House adopted a floor amendment by Democrat Chris Turner that was accepted by Republican Dan Huberty, author of the bill, which requires districts to spend at least 25 percent of the new funding on pay raises for non-administrative personnel. This would amount to an average of $1,850 for all non-administrative school employees, including support personnel. 

There are significant differences between the House and Senate approaches to school funding and employee compensation. The Senate has not yet considered a true school finance reform bill, but earlier in the session unanimously adopted SB 3, which provides a $5,000 across-the-board pay raise for teachers and librarians. This proposal may be rolled into SB 4, the more comprehensive school finance bill, which also includes a merit pay proposal for teachers.

Eventually conference committee members will be appointed from each chamber to hash out the differences between the House and Senate plans and come up with a compromise proposal in the form of a conference committee report. We will keep you updated during the coming weeks.