School finance deal still possible as clock ticks on Texas Legislature special session – Dallas News

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick echoed the sentiment later Wednesday. In a written statement, he said public schools have been one of his top considerations for more than a decade.

“Public education is also a top priority for the majority of Republican senators, and they are absolutely right that simply adding more funding without a focus on teachers and educational outcomes, as is being proposed, accomplishes very little,” Patrick said.

Comparing the proposals

On school finance, the two chambers differ on how to pay, as well as what to pay for. The House-passed measure would spend $1.8 billion more on schools in the two-year budget cycle that begins next month by delaying a $1.93 billion school payment scheduled for August 2019. It would be bumped into the succeeding budget cycle.

The Senate would pay for school finance changes, a one-time longevity bonus for teachers in September 2018 and $212 million to reduce scheduled increases in retired teachers’ health-care expenses through a similar accounting maneuver. It would delay about $780 million of state payments to Medicaid insurers by one month, freeing up the money to be used for other things.

Both chambers’ plans would keep some rural school districts from closing by averting a total cutoff next month of “hold harmless” money known as Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction, or ASATR.

The House’s, though, would provide significant sums to reduce the growth of Robin Hood payments by property wealthy districts such as Plano and Highland Park, and to recognize it costs more to educate bilingual and dyslexic students.

School finance deal still possible as clock ticks on Texas Legislature special session – Dallas News}

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