House Bill 3 passed the House on Wednesday, April 3, on a vote of 148-1 (Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, was the lone dissenting vote). It will now move to the Senate, where a different school finance reform bill has been filed but not yet scheduled for a committee hearing.

Highlights of HB 3 as it passed the House follow:

Finance

  • Distributes $6.3 billion in new funding for schools.
  • Spends $2.7 billion to provide property tax relief, compressing all local school property tax rates by 4 cents with additional reductions for districts that currently tax above $1.06.
  • Increases the basic allotment — the fundamental per-student funding for schools by $890 to $6,030 per student.
  • Reduces recapture (the “Robin Hood” money that property-wealthy districts send to the state) by nearly 40%.

Programs

  • Funds full-day prekindergarten for eligible students.
  • Funds an optional 30-day half-day summer program.
  • Increases funding for special education.
  • Provides additional resources for economically disadvantaged students and English language learners
  • Includes an allotment for school safety expenditures
  • Eliminates the specific allotment for gifted/talented but includes new requirements for districts to report their G/T expenditures to the state and to certify that their G/T program is consistent with the state plan.

Salaries

  • Raises the state minimum salary schedule significantly, due to a TCTA-initiated provision already in law that ensures the schedule increases along with increased state funding for education. (Click here to see an estimate of the revised salary schedule.)
  • Provides salary/wage increases for all non-administrative employees:
    • 25% of new funding must be used for salary increases for all employees except administrators.
    • Of that amount dedicated for salaries, 75% must be split equally among nonadministrators.
    • The remaining 25% must still be used for nonadministrative salary increases, but can be divided differently at the district’s discretion.
    • If the required funding were all split equally among nonadministrative employees, they would receive approximately $1,850.
    • Districts can spend more than the required 25% on salaries if they choose.