When the Legislature reduced property tax rates by one-third in 2006, they guaranteed that school districts would have the ability to maintain at least the same level of per-student funding for weighted average daily attendance (WADA) as they received for the 2005-06 school year by creating Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR).
In 2011, the State significantly reduced funding for public education and some of those cuts came through a percentage reduction to ASATR. At that time the Legislature also enacted a repeal of ASATR effective September 1, 2017.
By enacting an arbitrary deadline to ASATR funding, the Texas Legislature caused some districts to face a financial hardship, and make it very difficult for those schools to maintain the same level of instructional services for students. In 2017, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 21 during the first called special session and established the Financial Hardship Transition Program. This grant program provided districts with at least a portion of the funding that was lost, but it left many facing some tough decisions about how to make ends meet and not face possible closure. The Hardship Grant program received funding of $100 million for the 2017-18 school year, and $50 million for the 2018-19 school year.