Sunday, April 21, 2019
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New-SISD-logoA local school district has become the first in the Valley to complete a resolution that supports a house bill that requests $9 billion in additional funding to Texas public schools.

On Monday, the Sharyland Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of House Bill 3 which is being discussed in the current Texas legislative session.

The bill, which was introduced earlier this month by Houston Representative Dan Huberty, would increase the amount of money school districts receive per student from $5,100 to $6,030, raise the minimum salary for teachers and let school districts dip into a $140 million fund for teacher recruitment and retention.

Of the $9 billion, Huberty said, $6.3 billion will go to schools and $2.7 billion to tax relief to lower school district property tax rates statewide by 4 cents per $100 of appraised property value.

Sharyland ISD currently has a tax rate of $1.37 per $100 of assessed property evaluation. The four cent decrease would bring it back to the tax rate it held before its 4 cent increase in 2016. The average Texas school teacher earns about $54,000 a year, about $7,600 less than the national average according to the National Education Association.

“This came about because our teachers, faculty and staff are doing such a good job and many years ago, the state of Texas felt a need to take a lot of funding from public schools,” Sharyland Trustee Noe Oliveira said. “We hope everyone benefits from this bill.”

According to a March 5 article from Courthouse News Service, school districts across the state were forced to raise taxes after the state cut $5 billion in education funding in 2011. The population of Texas public school students, meanwhile, has grown from 2 million to 5.4 million since 1989.

HB 3 includes funding for programs to ensure all students learn how to read by third grade and for poor school districts to pay for pre-kindergarten education.

The bill will be debated and amended in the Texas House where representatives will pass it to the Senate.

“This is history in the making,” Sharyland Finance Director Ismael Gonzalez said. “This is the opportunity for the state and legislature to listen to educators and realize the need for more funding. I think every school district in the state of Texas would be in support of this.”

Once the Senate finishes its amendments it will go back to the House, then on to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature this spring.

Abbott previously expressed interest in working with Huberty on this house bill.

“We have an obligation to students, parents, and teachers to reform our school finance system and elevate education in Texas,” Abbott said in a statement earlier this month. “We promised Texans that this session would be transformative and address big issues like school finance and property tax reform, and today’s announcement by Chairman Huberty is a big step in honoring that pledge. I look forward to working with Chairman Huberty, as well as Lieutenant Governor Patrick, Speaker Bonnen, Senator Taylor and all members to better fund our schools, increase teacher pay, and put our students on a pathway to greater academic success.”