The Senate is scheduled to take up school finance reform and teacher salaries Monday, while the House is expected to consider an increase in the state sales tax later in the week.

Monday

The Senate is scheduled to have floor debate on HB 3, the school finance reform bill that also includes provisions for a teacher pay raise and a merit pay plan. The Senate substituted its own version into the House bill, so it differs from HB 3 as it passed the House in several key areas, including the teacher compensation provisions.

The House floor calendar includes HB 4242, a bill by Rep. Diego Bernal to ensure that STAAR tests are grade-level appropriate.

Tuesday

The House Public Education Committee agenda includes major legislation regarding school safety and mental health services in schools (SB 11).

The Senate Education Committee has scheduled HB 18, regarding training in mental health issues for teachers and principals.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will hear HB 19, which addresses mental health and substance use resources ("mental health first aid training") in public schools.

The House is expected to consider legislation to increase the state sales tax mid-week, though the bills have not been scheduled for a specific day. Tuesday is the deadline for a House bill to be set on the calendar for floor debate, and the last day for a House bill to be considered would be Thursday. HJR 3, in conjunction with HB 4621, provides for a constitutional amendment (which would require voter approval in November) to increase the state sales tax from the current 6.25% to 7.25%, with the additional revenue to be used only for property tax relief. These bills are considered an important part of the state leadership's priority package of school finance reform and property tax relief, but the sales tax swap faces opposition from fiscal conservatives who do not support decreasing one tax by increasing another, and from Democrats who are concerned about the regressive nature of a higher sales tax rate.