Legislature

87th Legislative Session

Statewide Impact

The 86th legislative session, which adjourned May 27, 2019, was one of the most education-centered sessions in decades. The Legislature invested $6.6 billion for public schools and $5 billion for property tax compression, for a total of $11.6 billion for the biennium ($5.8 billion per year for the next two years).

Recapture will be reduced by $3.6 billion over the biennium state-wide, and the State’s share of education funding will increase from 38 percent to 45 percent. In addition, new funding and increases in existing programs in the following areas were adopted:

  • Basic Allotment was increased from $5,140 to $6,160;
  • New dyslexia weight of 0.10;
  • New dual language weight of 0.15 for English language learners (ELLs) and 0.05 for non-ELLs;
  • Increase in compensatory education weight on a spectrum from 0.225 to 0.275, depending on degree of poverty;

New early education allotment of 0.1 for each economically disadvantaged student and /or limited English proficient student in K through 3, which will help Austin ISD pay for the second half of the day for pre-K.

The legislature also required that 30 percent of additional revenue per average daily attendance be used for salary increases, 75 percent of the 30 percent for compensation for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses, and the remaining 25 percent to be applied at the district’s discretion. Priority is to be given to teachers with 5 or more years’ experience. 

What This Means for Austin ISD

Finance & Recapture

Austin ISD finance staff conservatively estimate an additional $88 million in new revenue to AISD and potential investment earnings of $5 million.

Austin ISD’s recapture payment is estimated to be reduced by $60.9 million – still high at $612.2 million, but trending downward rather than upwards. Prior to the passage of HB 3, AISD anticipated the district would submit $673.1 million to the state in recapture funds in FY2019, and that it would increase by over $120 million to $793.6 in FY2020.

These amounts will vary year to year, depending upon property values and student enrollment. The Commissioner of Education also has broad rule-making authority, which could affect the interpretation of the laws passed by the 86th legislature.

In addition, the State’s investment in public education could vary in future sessions. Texas’ robust economy and the elimination of certain formulas and allotments and other changes, totaling approximately $5.3 billion, made much of the increased funding possible this session. The legislature eliminated the cost of education index, the gifted and talented allotment, the high school and staff allotments, in addition to changing from prior year values to current year values in calculating recapture.

The state cannot rely solely on continued economic growth to maintain public education investments and property tax cuts passed by the 86th legislature. Additional, sustainable sources of revenue must be a focus in future legislative sessions.

Salary Increases

The Board of Trustees approved $48 million in employee raises at its June 2019 meeting – more than twice the amount required by HB 3 – as follows:

  • 7 percent compensation increase for teachers, counselors and librarians with more than five years of experience;
  • 6 percent compensation increase for all other staff;
  • A $500 stipend increase to our special education teachers, an investment of about $500,000; and
  • A $1,000 stipend increase to our bilingual teachers, which reflects a $1.2 million investment.

Austin ISD Priorities Addressed

Many of Austin ISD’s priorities were addressed by HB 3, including the following:

State Share. A state system of public school finance that keeps all local property taxes in public education and a constitutional amendment that allows voters to decide whether to return State funding to at least 50 percent of the cost of maintaining and operating public schools

While the amount of the state’s share did not increase to 50 percent, it did increase to 45 percent from a low of 38 percent. As in years past, the amount of the state’s share can fluctuate from year to year.

Recapture. A state system of public school finance that freezes or limits the amount of recapture collected by the state under Chapter 41, Texas Education Code.

No legislation froze or limited the amount of recapture, but the effect of many of the changes made by HB 3 resulted in a reduction of 47 percent in the amount that recapture districts are to pay to the state in the next year. This amount, too, will fluctuate from year to year.

CTE. A state system of public school finance that provides funding for career and technical education for students in 6th through 8th grades.

HB 3 extends CTE to 7th and 8th grades.

P-Tech. A state system of public school finance that provides state formula funding for programs in which public school students are enrolled and receive credit in college courses, including dual credit, early college high school, and P-TECH programs.

HB 3 provides $50 for a student enrolled in a campus designated as a P-TECH school.

Transportation. A state system of public school finance that provides adequate transportation funding for all districts, including Chapter 41 districts.

Districts that pay recapture are now eligible for transportation funding.

Pre-K. Funding for full-day pre-kindergarten.

The Early Education Allotment of 0.1 for a student in K-3 who is educationally disadvantaged and/or is of limited English proficiency and is in a bilingual education or special language program, should provide the funds necessary to support the second half of the day that Austin ISD currently provides for eligible 4-year olds.

Special Education. Funding to provide appropriate services to increased numbers of students with special needs and dyslexia.

The funding weight for special education mainstream increased from 1.1 to 1.15, and a new dyslexia weight of 0.10 was created.

Mental Health. A state system of public education that provides state funded support for campus-based mental and behavioral health services for students.

While direct funding to school districts was not provided (other than the $9.72 per student under SB 11, the School Safety Bill), there was considerable legislation strengthening the requirements for mental health instruction, training and preparedness in public schools. The legislature appropriated $2.3 million per year for the next two years to distribute to local mental health non-physician mental health professionals to serve as mental health and substance abuse resources for regional education service centers. (See HB 19).

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