The Texas House has approved a bill that would boost funding for school districts by $1.6 billion over the next two years.
The measure passed 136 to 14 on Wednesday night after a four-hour long debate on dozens of amendments. The House gave a final vote of 132 to 15 on Thursday, advancing it to the Senate, where it meets an uncertain future.
Under House Bill 21 filed by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, most school districts would see a boost in funding. 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
The bill also would create a $200 million “hardship provision grant” that helps 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.