As the Senate Finance Committee comes close to finalizing their version of the state’s budget, new tweaks made today would increase the chamber’s amount of spending on what they refer to as “public education reform.”
As filed, the Senate’s version of the budget barely fell within the confines of the Conservative Texas Budget coalition’s recommendation. With $6 billion set aside for school finance reform, the Senate originally planned on dedicating $3.7 billion for increased teacher pay, with a mere $2.3 billion for property tax relief.
Changes proposed by State Sen. Larry Taylor (R–Friendswood) and supported unanimously by the committee ups the total number to $9 billion.
Still, however, taxpayers would likely not see the majority of that amount.
The Senate’s across-the-board $5,000 pay raise for teachers was adjusted to $4 billion, due in part to additional TRS funding necessitated by the pay raise as well as the decision made by senators to include librarians in the proposal.
Of the remaining $5 billion, $2.7 billion is tagged for property tax relief and the remaining $2.3 billion for other school finance reform-related spending, though details on how exactly the money would be spent are sparse as the Senate’s school finance reform was filed largely incomplete on details.
By raising state spending on public education, without shifting meaningful money to property tax relief, the Senate’s version would end up more closely mirroring the House’s budget.
The Senate Finance Committee is expected to pass its version of the budget next week before it being taken up by the full Senate body.