FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/20/2017
REP. SPRINGER FILES AMENDMENT TO MAJOR SCHOOL FINANCE BILL
Austin, TX-- On Wednesday, the Texas House of Representatives took up and passed HB 21 by Rep. Huberty, a bill to reform the public school finance system. Public education is one of the top priorities of the Texas House and this bill is crucial to ensuring proper funding for Texas school systems. While there were several parts to the bill that Rep. Springer supported including fixing the Transportation formula that hasn't been touched in three decades, he did propose and support additional amendments that will benefit schools in rural Texas.
Rep. Springer offered an amendment to address the need for supplemental funding as the state phases out the Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR) program which is set to end in 2017. The amendment read that if a school district is the only one operating in a county, then the Texas Education Agency (TEA)Commissioner shall provide the district with 100 percent of the state aid that they would have received under the previous funding formula. There are a handful of school districts in the state that this applies to where consolidation is simply not an option due to the distance from alternate districts. This would be a tremendous help for those schools that are small fixed cost schools which require a base amount of funding to operate and educate the children that they serve. Unfortunately, the votes were not there to pass this amendment.
Rep. Springer also strongly supported and voted for an amendment authored by Representative Drew Darby. Rep. Darby's Amendment will remove the 300 square mile penalty that currently hurts rural schools. This policy was implemented over 30 years ago to promote consolidation of small school districts, however, it proved to be ineffective and damaging. In addition to supporting this amendment, Rep. Springer also authored a bill that would strike this provision, HB 2091.
When asked about these amendments, Rep Springer stated, "Our rural public schools, because of lower student populations and larger land mass, can be penalized under the current funding formula. These amendments will ensure that our rural schools are protected and that our students will receive the same quality education of those in urban areas."
If you have questions or concerns about the representative's amendments, you may contact Rep. Springer at District68.Springer@house.texas.gov.