House Bill 3

On June 11th, 2019, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3 into Texas law, remarking "This one law does more to advance education in the state of Texas than any law that I have seen in my adult lifetime in the state of Texas." This enormous legislative package reflected a total expenditure of $11.6 billion for the biennium, allocated between two categories:

  • Public education ($6.5 billion)
  • Property tax relief ($5.1 billion)

HB3 represented landmark legislation and a marked change from prior sessions which historically saw a state budget “battle” between (i) education advocates seeking more, fully discretionary per student funding and (ii) conservative low-tax advocates lobbying for both smaller funding increases and disruption strategies (i.e. vouchers) while lamenting current public education outcomes. In 2019, the passage of HB3 significantly changed those traditional dynamics by leveraging a year-long, bi-partisan Commission report to produce legislation that looked at both current achievement levels and effective approaches being seen statewide that were producing outlier results.

The net result of the HB3 process was a bill that drove sizable, equitable funding directed toward specific, data-proven strategies which additionally emphasized supporting those student populations most behind. It’s also clear that this process instilled confidence in legislative leaders to push for even higher increased levels of funding than seen in the past given its strategic, outcomes-driven focus.

The bill’s $6.5 billion public education component reflects sizable funds invested strategically on initiatives proven to improve academic achievement for all our students. These initiatives broadly fit within four overarching strategies, with each related to a visionary goal for Texas public education defined by the 2018 Commission on Public School Finance:

1. Every Child is Ready to Learn

  • Increased per-pupil funding for every Texas student
  • Sufficient funding for for full day Pre-K for every eligible four-year old
  • An optional extended school year of up to 30 days for all elementary schools in Texas to help reduce “summer slide’, increase teacher pay, and provide sufficient time for both additional teacher collaboration/planning and student enrichment
  • Increased supports in K-3 literacy through literacy academies which will support 80,000 teachers in their requirement to either demonstrate competency or receive supplemental learning in the science of reading
  • Requires local school boards to set and publicly report on five-year goals for 3rd grade reading and mathematics disaggregated by race and family income

2. Every Child is Ready to Earn

  • Funding paid to districts for every qualifying student who tests college-ready and subsequently enrolls in college, enlists in the military, or achieves an industry certificate, with 60% higher funding ($5K) for low income students
  • Expanded funding for career and technical education into the middle school years
  • Funding for SAT/ACT reimbursement for each high school student assessed
  • Requirement for federal financial aid completion in order to graduate from high school (parent or counselor opt-out provided)
  • Funding for first-time GED testing for all adults 21 and older and older to assist dropouts in receiving their diploma
  • Requires local school boards to set and publicly report on five-year goals for college, career and military readiness disaggregated by race and family income

3. Every Educator is Ready to Teach

  • $1.6 billion dollar biennial increase to teacher and support staff salaries
  • Optional funding for districts willing to implement a multi-measure teacher evaluation system. Participating districts are eligible for $3K to $12K per effective teacher (top third of teachers can qualify), which can increase to up to $32K for effective teachers staffing high poverty and/or rural schools
  • $8 million in optional funding for development of teacher mentoring programs

4. Every Child is Equitably Supported

  • $1.1 billion in increased per-pupil funding for low-income students, with higher weights directed toward students living within highest levels of concentrated poverty
  • Increased funding for dual language programming
  • Increased funding for identification and support of students with dyslexia

To learn more HB3 and its impact on Texas public schools, explore the resources listed to the right, and check back for implementation updates featured on the Commit blog.