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Saturday, June 25, 2005

School Finance Update (Spec. Legislative Session)

Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 21:12:28 -0500
From: Joe Castillo
Subject: Legislative Update

From Joe Castillo of LULAC. Good and concise. Thanks, Joe. -Angela

Friday, June 24, 2005

Education finance bills voted out of House and Senate Committees
The Texas House and Senate education committees both passed their versions of education reform bills on Thursday.

The Texas House Public Education Committee passed House Bill 2 (HB 2) by Grusendorf on a 6-2-1 vote. In a vote split down party lines Representatives Scott Hochberg (D-Houston) and Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) voted against the bill, while Representative Harold Dutton (D-Houston) was present but not voting. Although the House Public Education Committee took public comments, HB 2 was passed out of committee with no amendments.

Some House members complained that there had not been enough time for everyone to thoroughly review all of the provisions in HB 2 before voting. Vice-chairman of the House Public Education Committee, Representative Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) said, "I think it's a disaster to do that with a bill that's 410 pages, that only a handful of us have seen. There are a lot of things in here that didn't get properly aired, that didn't have sufficient public testimony, I don't care if it's a special session or not, we need to do that."

The Senate Education Committee passed Committee Substitute Senate Bill 2 on a 6-2 vote, with Senators Steve Ogden (R-College Station) and Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) voting against the bill. Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) was not present for the vote.

Both education finance bills would:

a.. Provide $3 billion in new funding over the biennium with all districts guaranteed a minimum funding increase of 3 percent starting this fall.
b.. Establish a mandate the Tuesday after Labor Day start date for school classes beginning in the fall of 2006.
c.. Require standardized testing, such as the TAKS, to be done online.
There are, however, some differences in the House and Senate plans. The Senate's version would give teachers an average $2,500 pay raise, while the House education bill would give them a $1,500 pay raise. Both versions adjust "equity standards" to give more money to low and middle wealth districts. However, the Senate version includes a larger adjustment than the House version.

Additionally, the House bill would set a cap of 35 percent of the money property rich school districts would share with the state and tie that amount to per student spending.

The bills are expected go to their respective legislative chambers early next week for debate and votes. The bills, if approved, will then be referred to a House/Senate conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions.

Yesterday's Senate Education Committee meeting was recorded and is available for video streaming via the internet from the Senate Real Media Live Archives as part 1 and part 2 .

Yesterday's House Public Education Committee meeting was recorded and is available for video streaming via the internet from House Video Archives .



School finance tax plan still in committee
House Bill 3 , the tax plan which would fund school finance reform is off to a running stop. Yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony from the Legislative Budget Board and the State Comptrollers office and then failed to pass HB 3 out of committee.

Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Representative Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) said, "We have polled the committee and there are not the votes on the committee to go forward with."

Yesterday's House Ways and Means Committee meeting was recorded and is available for video streaming via the internet from House Video Archives .



Texas Senate
The Texas Senate is in recess and will reconvene on Monday, June, 27 at 1:30 p.m.

This Senate session will be broadcast live via the internet. Please check the Senate Real Media Live Broadcast Calendar for the appropriate channel to access.


Texas House of Representatives
The Texas House of Representatives is in recess and is scheduled to reconvene on Monday, June 27, 2005 at noon.

This House session will be broadcast live via the internet, check the House Broadcast Schedule for the appropriate channel to access.



Senate Committee on Education
The Senate Committee on Education meeting originally scheduled for Friday, June 24, 2005 has been cancelled.


House Ways & Means Committee
Friday, June 25, 2005
10:30 a.m., E2.010


This committee will meet to consider the following bill:

HB 4 -Isett / et al.
Relating to certain limitations on the ad valorem tax rates of certain taxing units.


HB-23 --Keffer, Jim
Relating to state and certain local fiscal matters; providing civil and criminal penalties.


This House committee meeting may be broadcast live via the internet, check the House Broadcast Schedule for the appropriate channel to access.



Yesterday, Thursday, June 23, 2005
Senate Committee on Finance
The Committee heard invited testimony on available General Revenue and considered the following bill:

Senate Bill 4 -Williams

Relating to the calculation and imposition of an ad valorem tax by a taxing unit.

The committee adjourned without taking a vote on SB 4.

Yesterday's Senate Education Committee meeting was recorded and is available for video streaming via the internet from the Senate Real Media Live Archives .



Monday, June 24, 2005
House Committee on Higher Education
Monday, June 27, 2005
9 a.m., Monday, JHR 120

HB 6 --Morrison
Relating to authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds or other obligations to fund capital projects at public institutions of higher education.

This House committee meeting may be broadcast live via the internet, check the House Broadcast Schedule for the appropriate channel to access.

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