(AUSTIN, TX, May 19, 2023) — The Texas Senate has not moved toward passing any legislation that would increase the core unit of education funding in Texas. With just over a week left in the legislative session and key deadlines fast approaching, educators are concerned that the opportunity for robust, needed investments in public education is slipping away.
The Texas School Coalition, which represents school districts that pay recapture to the state, sounded the alarm Friday because the Senate has not taken any action on House Bill 100, which is the one bill that the Texas House has approved to raise the Basic Allotment. HB 100 has not yet received a Senate committee hearing.
“When the House approved a modest increase in the Basic Allotment, we had hoped that the Senate would build on that approach,” said Texas School Coalition Executive Director Christy Rome. “Instead, the Senate appears poised to do less than the House. As a result of this inaction, schools will not have the resources they need.”
The Basic Allotment is currently $6,160 per year. As passed by the House, HB 100 would increase the Basic Allotment by $140 over two years. However, inflation has been 14.5 percent since the Legislature approved the last increase in the Basic Allotment, which was in 2019. To fully account for 14.5 percent inflation, legislators would have to increase the Basic Allotment by $900.
“Schools have been struggling with the loss of teachers and with rising costs for utilities, insurance and other expenses,” Rome said. “With a sizable state surplus, we had hoped that public education would be among the state’s top priorities. Hopefully, the Senate will move swiftly to put more of our state surplus into public education.”
According to Education Week, Texas already ranks 40th in per-student spending.
The Senate has made some efforts to put more money into schools, including boosts for campus safety. In addition, earlier in the year, the Senate approved a bill — largely targeted toward small school districts — providing one-time pay bonuses for teachers. That legislation has not moved forward in the Texas House.
“We know that there are other efforts to improve school funding, but only the Basic Allotment provides funding to every district in a way that gives local decision-makers discretion to spend it on their most pressing needs,” Rome said. “Unless the Senate changes course, school districts are going to lose more teachers and continue struggling to pay their bills.”