On the surface, not much reform obvious in HB3; the school finance reform bill

Pratt on TexasHouse public education committee chairman Dan Huberty pushed out HB3, the public school finance reform bill and after a review of his talking points, I don’t see much real reform that makes anything simpler except in how busing money is handled.

The headline “House Proposes $6.3 Billion in New Education Spending, $2.7 in Tax Relief,” says much. And when you look at the plan the tax relief appears to be another one-time drop in the property tax rate for schools which, if past experience is a guide, will be a savings soon disappeared.

Dropping the rate is not reform and HB3 leaves out the excellent long-term fundamental reform of letting voters have an automatic tax increase ratification election if a district were to raise taxes above a certain percentage.

About the only simplification to the convoluted funding system in the legislative talking points list relates to transportation funding, a.k.a. busing.

About the only simplification to the convoluted funding system in the legislative talking points list relates to transportation funding, a.k.a. busing. In fact, the whole bill looks like just another big payoff of more than six billion of our dollars to public schools with little forcing them to put the money into effective, measurable classroom use. We’ve been down this same road many times before and know that most of the money ends up in the non-instructional administrative side of public education.

Maybe we’ll learn more that will change minds in coming weeks but my first read of HB3 is that it tries to appease each major school lobby group with more money and does almost zero to simplify and make more transparent our convoluted school finance system – which I thought was the point of reform.

What do you think?...

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