Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen held a joint press conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the agreed-upon conference committee report for HB 3, the school finance reform legislation.

The actual language of the conference committee report for HB 3 has not been released, so many key details — such as how exactly the teacher compensation increase is structured — are not yet available. The following points were made at the press conference:

  • Generally speaking, HB 3 will increase the state’s share of education funding to 45% (from the current 38%), reduce recapture by 47%, increase teacher pay, and decrease property taxes.
  • Patrick noted that veteran teachers should receive an increase in their compensation package in the amount of “an average of $4,000.” There was a brief reference to teachers with more than five years of experience, so we believe that is the intended target for the increase. Note that this was not referred to as a $4,000 raise.
  • According to material distributed at the press conference, the increase would affect teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians.
  • Some form of performance pay model is included. In remarks made after the press conference, House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty said that the determination of which teachers are “effective” and eligible for additional pay would be made by an independent party at Texas Tech (presumably a research entity at the university). According to state leaders, the determinations will be “uncoupled” from student test performance.
  • An optional additional month of school would be funded, providing participating teachers with another month of pay.
  • An agreement on SB 12 (TRS funding) has also been reached. In addition to increasing funding to make TRS actuarially sound, retirees would receive a 13th check averaging $2,000.
  • Property tax relief will come through an average reduction in school property tax rates by 8 cents in 2020 and 13 cents in 2021; property tax growth will be slowed by a 2.5% cap on tax revenue before a local election would be triggered.

The three leaders touched on other issues (increased funding for pre-K and dyslexia, for example) but without much detail.

The next steps for the bill are approval by the House and Senate, before being sent to the governor’s desk. Votes in both chambers are expected this weekend.

DISCLAIMER: The lengthy bill has not yet been printed, so we have not had the opportunity to review its specific language. We will have more answers when the full proposal is released, so be sure to check out the website for any more details that have become available.