As the 84th Legislative Session gets underway, you can be assured that there will be a number of bills filed that will have a direct impact on education. As always, I will try to keep everyone up to date with information on the most important bills.
There have already been some bills filed that should get the attention of everyone. HB 654 has been filed by Representative Jimmie Don Aycock. Although Representative Aycock acknowledges that his bill is a very rough first draft, it is still quite interesting. The bill deals with a way of leveling the amount of funding per student that is received by districts. The bill would authorize the creation of at least 30 “school finance districts.” These districts would basically be the consolidated property wealth of one or more districts. It would not involve the consolidation of the districts, just their property wealth. Voters in each district would have to approve such mergers. Again, please keep in mind that this is a very rough draft and according to Representative Aycock is very much subject to change.
HB 719 and HB 720 would eliminate the “penalty” for small and mid-sized schools in the Texas school finance system.
HB 724 would prohibit school districts from providing instruction in odd-numbered years on the uniform election day in November. It would also prohibit a school district from providing instruction in even-numbered years on the general election day for state and county offices. The bill states that a district could hold a school holiday on these dates or provide a staff workday.
HB 722 would offer a tax credit to a taxable entity for offering an internship of at least 6 weeks to a student that is enrolled in a career and technology course in high school.
There will be plenty of other updates in the future.