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Fourth explosion this month injures two; this time in Southwest Austin

House to consider $1.6 billion school finance bill Wednesday

The Texas House will consider and possibly approve a $1.6 billion school finance bill and a slew of other amendments on Wednesday that could determine how much public schools will get in extra funding over the next two years.

Under House Bill 21 filed by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, most school districts would see a boost but because of the complex school finance system, some would actually see less money.

READ: School finance overhaul unlikely in the short term

The Austin school district would receive an additional $11.5 million in fiscal 2018 and $12.3 million in fiscal 2019.

The bill would, among other things:

• Increase the basic amount of money that school districts receive by $210 per student to $5,350.

• Establish extra funding to educate students with dyslexia and increase funding to educate students who are learning English as a second language.

• Expand funding for career and technology education courses from high school to include eighth grade.

• Roll the transportation allotment into the basic allotment

Because the bill increases the basic allotment, the amount that property-wealthy school districts like Austin must pay to the state under the recapture system would be reduced by $174 million in 2018, $205 million in 2019 and $319 million by 2022, according to the Legislative Budget Board. The state redistributes recapture money to districts considered property-poor under a complicated and outdated formula.

The bill would also create a $200 million “hardship provision grant” designed to help school districts slated to lose so-called hold harmless funding starting next school year. Hold harmless funding has helped more than 1,000 districts since 2006, when the state decreased property tax rates by a third and provided the money to compensate for that loss.

The boost in funding provided by the bill stands in stark contrast to the $1.4 billion in state support the Senate has proposed cutting from public education.

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