The Texas House is proposing a nearly 17 percent increase in funding for public schools. That’s an additional $7 billion in funding over the next two years if lawmakers can overhaul the finance system and address growing property taxes.
Dr. Cornelio Gonzalez, Region One Executive Director says, “It’s important for the State of Texas to realize that educating our children is going to have an impact on the future development of our state and investing in on children is always the best bet.”
Region One which oversees 37 districts is looking to address the safety of students as a top priority and academic needs.
“We have high poverty rates and we also have a very large percentage of students that come recently as immigrants, 30 percent of them do not speak English well.” says Dr. Gonzalez.
Under the proposal $633 million of the state’s rainy-day fund would be used to address retired teachers’ pensions including school safety, but the increase in funding will come at a loss for health and human services. Medicaid for example could see more than a billion and a half less in funding.
Gonzalez says schools need quality staff and often compete with other industries for teachers, “Having funds available to retain the best teachers is critical.”
The senate is expecting to release their version of the budget today. Lawmakers will then reconcile both proposals into one and must pass the budget by the end of the session which ends May 27th.