May 6, 2019
The following is a statement from Sen. Watson regarding the Senate’s approval of the school finance legislation:
House Bill 3, which is a sweeping school finance and property tax reduction bill, cleared the Texas Senate on Monday. I’m proud to have been part of the process to improve the legislation. While it has aspects I disagree with, it also has reforms I support. And the process is not finished.
Much of our current school finance system is terribly out-of-date and fails to reflect the true cost of educating today’s children. Changes in House Bill 3 will help our schools serve students better, particularly through full-day pre-k and a true focus on getting resources to economically disadvantaged children. Both of these reforms will ensure that we’re supporting the students who need it most.
House Bill 3 also includes a significant property tax reduction — through a 10-cent compression of school property tax rates — that doesn’t rely on an increase in any other taxes. I offered the amendment that dedicated three existing sources of revenue to the Tax Reduction and Excellence in Education Fund. The amendment reflected the consensus of a workgroup put together by Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson to consider different revenue options.
I’m disappointed that House Bill 3 still ties school funding and teacher pay to STAAR test, despite amendments attempting to remove those provisions from the bill. But the legislation makes critical investments in our public schools — investments and reforms we’ve been seeking for years — and I expect the final product will be even better.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kate Alexander, Office of Senator Kirk Watson: (512) 463-0114