School finance, pre-K bills pass Texas House

Texas House approves school finance bill

AUSTIN - Members of the Texas House of Representatives gave the final approval to House Bill 21 Thursday.

HB21 by Representative Dan Huberty (R-Houston), a former school board member, reforms the school finance system by increasing how much the state spends on each student's education and decreasing recapture.

But Huberty said for him, the bill is about more than money.   

"People just talk about the money, that's not it. We changed the way that we fund, fundamentally fund education in the State of Texas last night. And we recognize from our perspective that it's our responsibility as a state to do more. We have to fund more. People are being taxed out of their homes because we're not sticking to our end of the bargain," he said. 

Huberty said if HB21 passes, the state will be paying 39 percent of the cost to educate a student compared to the 37 percent it currently pays.

Back in 2007, the state footed 48 percent of the bill to educate kids.

Now, the state just puts in 37 percent.

HB21 wasn't the only bill by Huberty to be voted out of the House. House Bill 357 was also approved. It makes children of first responders killed or hurt in the line of duty eligible for free pre-K in public schools. Huberty said extending that benefit to these families is just the right thing to do. 

Both HB21 and HB357 are now headed to the Senate where they will be assigned to a committee.

Huberty believes his pre-K bill will be an easy sell to Texas senators and adds he is optimistic HB21 will also pass.

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