Appropriations/Finance Update

Senate Bill 1 Advances out of Senate Finance Committee

Senate Bill 1, the General Appropriations Act, received a unanimous recommendation from the 15-member Senate Finance Committee this week and is headed to the full Senate for consideration next week.  The bill adds $1.5 billion more to public education by running $1.375 billion through the formulas ($1 billion restores the RPAF and $375 million increases the Basic Allotment so that no district suffers a net loss as ASATR is reduced).  To see the runs from Moak, Casey & Associates that were previously distributed to TXSC members to estimate per-district impact of this change, click here: Senate Model Runs.

Click here to see the ‘Give It Back’ Grassroots campaign launched in relation to the Senate consideration of the budget.

 

House Appropriations FSP Decisions

The House Appropriations Committee also took action on their version of the budget this week as they adopted a rider that would also add an additional $1.5 billion for the public schools.  The House version runs the entire $1.5 billion through the formulas.  The first year is identical in both models, with the Regular Program Adjustment  Basic Allotment set at $4,799 and the percentage applied to ASATR is 91.29 percent, causing a $200 million reduction.  The average gain for all districts is $83/WADA while the average gain for districts subject to recapture is $27/WADA.

The differences in the second year of the biennium for the two models (FY15) are as follows:

Senate

House

FY15 BA

$4,874

$4,893

FY15 ASATR percentage

91.13

91.19

FY15 ASATR reduction

$373 million

$400 million

Districts funded on formula

709

715

Statewide Avg. Gain/WADA

$135

$150

Chapter 41 Avg. Gain/WADA

$18

$23

 

HB 10 signed by the Governor

The supplemental appropriations act, House Bill 10 (Pitts/Williams), which includes $1.75 billion to reverse the August 2013 Foundation School Program (FSP) payment delay and another $630 million for the FSP to address some overestimations of savings at TEA, as well as $4.5 billion for Medicaid, was signed by the Governor this week and took immediate effect.  This action increases the amount allowed under the constitutional limit on spending in the 2014-15 biennium.

 

Upcoming Hearings

The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Matters will consider SB 14 (Williams) on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. in Capitol Extension E1.036.  SB 14 is the bill that requires schools to post an inventory of facilities on the district’s website.  It also requires additional ballot language for bond elections, including total and per capita current debt, the combined principal and interest required to pay all outstanding debt, the principal of bonds to be authorized, and the estimated combined principal and interest required, the purpose for which the bonds are to be authorized, the estimated rate of interest, and the maturity date.

 

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Budget Transparency and Reform will consider HB 14 (Pitts) on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. in Capitol Extension room E1.030.  HB 14 is the companion bill to SB 14 (described above).

 

The House Technology Committee will consider HB 882 (Creighton) on Monday, March 18 at 2:00 p.m.  This bill would require the state’s 50 largest districts to post their check registers on-line in searchable format.

 

The Senate Education Committee will conduct a hearing on Tuesday, March 19, at 8:30 a.m. in Capitol Extension room E1.028 to consider five bills that have not yet been heard by the Committee and to vote out four pending bills that were previously heard, including SB 2 (relating to charter schools), SB 435 (which extends the tuition exemption for school districts with dual credit programs), and SB 1724 (relating to state assessments and graduation requirements, which is expected to eventually be amended onto SB 3).  The full list of bills posted for this hearing can be found here: Senate Education Committee Posting.

 

The House Public Education Committee will conduct a hearing on Tuesday, March 19, at 2:00 p.m. in Capitol Extension room E2.036.  There are 13 bills posted for this hearing.  The full list of bills posted for hearing can be found in the House Public Education Committee Posting.

 

Recap of hearings this week

On Monday, the House Ways and Means Committee considered HB 671 (Ratliff), which would modify the rollback statute so that districts that have had a TRE are allowed to maintain any voter authorized pennies on top of the compressed rate plus $0.04.  If district reduced their tax rate one year, the would still have the ability to raise rates in future years (up to the level authorized by voters) thereby providing some school district flexibility on tax rates.  The Coalition provided testimony in support of this legislation, along with Coppell ISD, TASB, and TTARA.  The bill was left pending.

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Education conducted a hearing on SB 1724 (Patrick), which modifies the number of state assessments required for graduation from 15 to four.  Following many hours of public testimony, this bill was left pending. The following six bills were given a recommendation by committee that they be considered by the full Senate:

  • SB 132 (Nelson) further prevents a grading policy that limits a teacher authority
  • SB 172 (Carona) relating to diagnostic assessments for kindergarten students
  • SB 401 (Lucio) requires notice if a counselor is not assigned for more than 30 days
  • SB 521 (Paxton) prohibits certain entities from teaching about human sexuality in schools
  • SB 573 (Patrick) would allow private schools to participate in UIL competitions
  • SB 715 (Lucio) would provide consistency for references to school counselors in law

 

The House Public Education Committee conducted a hearing Tuesday afternoon and heard testimony on five bills, which were all left pending.  They also took action on 10 bills, including:

  • HB 5 (Aycock) limits EOC assessments required for graduation to five rather than 15, provides flexibility in graduation plans, and reforms school accountability
  • HB 210 (Marquez) allows commissioner subpoena authority to conduct certain investigations
  • HB 222(Huberty) changes criteria for PEG eligibility to AU performance for the preceding two years, rather than any of the last three years
  • HB 234 (Guillen) allows districts to use of optional flexible school day funding for campus-wide programs
  • HB 455(Dukes) authorizes excused absences for student parents who are taking their child to health care appointments
  • HB 525 (Aycock) collects PEIMS data on military-connected students
  • HB 551(Cortez) extends the time period for which school districts are exempt from paying tuition for costs associated with dual credit programs to September 1, 2015
  • HB 580 (Howard) allows comp ed dollars to be spent on child care for student parents
  • HB 617(Rodriguez) requires districts to designate at least one employee to provide transitional services to students in special education programs
  • HB 1264(Huberty) requires schools to report the number of students identified as dyslexic through PEIMS
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